Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

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The Search Engine
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Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by The Search Engine »

Hi folks,
Just interested in your feedback please.
Had an incident where contaminated petri dishes were opened by students (!) then put in a tote tray in the prep room where I stuck my hands in them. Quickly washed hands, bundled up dishes into plastic bag, then newspaper, then more plastic and put in skip. (I used to microwave them for 10 mins before binning but was told by a Science teacher not to bother just wrap, label and dump.)
How edgy should I be about what I may have come into contact with?
Not sure whether this is something I need to phone the Accidents & Incidents hotline about.
Any advice and opinions gratefully received.
Cheers,
Searchie
The Search Engine
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Labbie
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by Labbie »

I would report it phone Accidents etc just in case, I feel once you have done this, nothing will happen. You just never know, so yes report it. I think you have 24 hours, not too sure, there.
Regards Labbie

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dss8386
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by dss8386 »

I guess it all depends on what bacteria you are dealing with. I have accidently been exposed to agar plates and never got sick.

The bacteria you get from Southern Biological is school safe, any contact with the bacteria i doubt is going to be a major concern unless you stick you fingers in your mouth. Washing hands would have killed anything you touched. Probably got more chance catching something going into a hospital.

In regards to disposal, i used an autoclave for 20 mins at 15psi. I wouldnt feel confortable just chucking them out though, you dont know what could fester in there. If you dont have an autoclave, soak them in bleach...kills everything.

I hope this helps, be interested to hear what other people suggest...Im not exactly a biologist :)
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Graham Kemp
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by Graham Kemp »

Report it to your WH&SO, at the very least. Do consider consulting a physician, especially if you show any symptoms in the next few days. Particularly, check your hands for paper cuts and such that might have been infected. The proper response here is to be a bit pessimistic; to err on the side of caution.

Don't panic about it though. As long as you promptly and thoroughly washed your hands (hopefully with an antiseptic), you should be reasonably safe. The growths we're allowed to cultivate are relatively harmless.

Still, double check how and where the plates were inoculated, just to be certain of what you might have been exposed to. It does sound as if your science teacher is not on the ball with 'exercising all due care'. The students should not have been allowed to open the plates after they were taped closed (but not ceiled) after inoculation. And yes, you still should sterilise and disinfect the plates before wrapping for the skip bin.

Hopefully you, and the students, will be okay.

dss8386 wrote:In regards to disposal, i used an autoclave for 20 mins at 15psi. I wouldnt feel confortable just chucking them out though, you dont know what could fester in there. If you dont have an autoclave, soak them in bleach...kills everything.
Agreed! Microwave or autoclave to sterilise, and disinfect with bleach or an antiseptic wash, then plastic wrap, bag, and label.
Risks should be minimised, not ignored. Make the effort, take care, and be safe.
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AnnNos
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by AnnNos »

Definitely contact the Incident line - 1800 811 523. It should be within 24 hours but is accepted up til 48 hours after the event. Anything that makes you uncomfortable or concerned in any aspect of our job should be reported.
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superbug
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by superbug »

Hi I have been told that the microwave is not a good option as it doesn't get hot enough to kill the microbes. we are now using a pressure cooker as an autoclave (used with autoclave tape).

Thanks Superbug
dss8386
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by dss8386 »

QUOTE:

Still, double check how and where the plates were inoculated, just to be certain of what you might have been exposed to. It does sound as if your science teacher is not on the ball with 'exercising all due care'. The students should not have been allowed to open the plates after they were taped closed (but not ceiled) after inoculation. And yes, you still should sterilise and disinfect the plates before wrapping for the skip bin.

Totally agreed. Plates should never been opened after innoculation and the science teacher should not have said to just throw them out. Is this a biology teacher?
Its duty of care to dispose of bacteria properly, you dont want the school having an outbreak!

I used parafilm when sealing plates. Better then sticky tape and stretches over the whole plate. I have come up with a recipe which allows me to add the bacteria to the gel before pouring which means students don't innoculate, just add antibiotic discs or natural antibiotics on discs. Best results I have ever had!!

I would at the very least report it to your WHS Officer and see what they suggest. You need something down on paper it case you fall ill or anyone else. providing you wash your hand properly, you should be ok.

Dave
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The Search Engine
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by The Search Engine »

Thanks folks, for your input. Have phoned the hotline to report but yet to find out exactly what the agar plates were infected with. Guessing that the teacher may not be too sure....

Anyway, appreciate your points of view. Feeling quite well by the way. :D

Searchie
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noona
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by noona »

Glad to hear you are good :D :D
Noona
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bindibadgi
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by bindibadgi »

Happy to hear it! :D
I'm sure it'd take more than some pesky bacteria to knock an awesome labbie like you over! :thumbup:
bindibadgi
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Graham Kemp
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by Graham Kemp »

The Search Engine wrote:... Feeling quite well by the way. :D
Excellent! Keep doing that.
india
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by india »

Can the experiment where the students swab every nook and cranny of the school still be performed? I understood that it was banned due to possible unknown bacterial growths, would somebody be able to confirm this - thank you
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Labbie
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by Labbie »

Yes it banned way back in the early 2000, try the CSIS.
Regards Labbie

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lada
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by lada »

Hi Sue,
is there a document stating the ban in 2000? I cannot find it anywhere. One teacher here knows about it. It was introduced after one school has grown golden staph on plates from a toilet swab, yuck!!
Lada
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fibreweb
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by fibreweb »

Section 3 of the CSIS package
3.2 Science
3.2.6.2 Microbiology
Approved Activities
"The subculturing of bacteria from wild cultures must not be performed in DET schools"
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Labbie
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by Labbie »

Thank you Fibreweb that is good of you.
Regards Labbie

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Now retired :wub:
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lada
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by lada »

Thanks.
I just had a talk with HOD about it, as we have 20plates" breeding" in an incubator. He agrees, but technically we are not DET school. All well and good, does it mean we can use any chemicals banned from DET schools? We must be held accountable for our actions?
Very silly to segregate school on WHS. As an independent school, our students do catch the same germs as DET school kids.
Lada
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macca
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by macca »

lada wrote:Hi Sue,
is there a document stating the ban in 2000? I cannot find it anywhere. One teacher here knows about it. It was introduced after one school has grown golden staph on plates from a toilet swab, yuck!!
Lada
OH dear, we stopped the above and the coughing/body fluids for example but staff still do bench tops/door handles inside the lab area.

So I guess I should be saying no can't do anymore? shouldn't have been for the last 14years.

Am I reading right? Whooooops maybe these non DET kids are special little cherubs
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rae
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by rae »

Swabbing areas around the school and then growing the bacteria/fungi is not subculturing Subculturing is taking an already grown unknown bacteria and transferring it onto another agar plate. This is done for antibiotic sensitivity and identification etc in pathology labs but not in schools.

How did they know it was "golden" staph??
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ELIZABETH
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Re: Exposure to contaminated petri dishes

Post by ELIZABETH »

I don't let them out of the classroom any more....too many swabs of dirt etc!
Now they swab keyboards,light switches, handrails etc. and we always get good plates. Sub-culturing is forbidden.
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