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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 149-156
Original Article

Comparison of Methods of Sampling for Toxocara Species and Fecal Coliforms in an Outdoor Day Care Environment

Hélène Carabin, Theresa W Gyorkos, Evelyne Kokoskin, Pierre Payment, Lawrence Joseph, and Julio Soto

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 19 March 1997; Accepted 11 June 1997

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To compare three sampling methods and to pretest methods for the determination of fecal coliform (FC) counts and Toxocara species from sand in the day care outdoor environment.

DESIGN: The sand samples were obtained from the play area and the sandbox of a day care centre and examined for the presence of FC and Toxocara species, the common roundworm of dogs and cats. The sampling methods included random selection and two types of judgement methods. The latter included one method where domestic animals were judged to be likely to defecate and the other where children would be likely to be playing. In addition, to obtain a global estimate of contamination, the entire areas of both the sandbox and the play area were sampled on the last day.

SETTING: Outdoor day care environment.

MAIN RESULTS: The most representative levels of bacterial contamination and Toxocara species originated from the combined sample of the entire surface areas rather than from any separate random or judgement method of sampling. FCs were found in all sampled areas of the sandbox (median 910 FCs/g of sand) and of the play area (median 350 FCs/g of sand). Toxocara species were recovered from a number of areas in both the sandbox and the play area.

CONCLUSIONS: Research on environmental microbial contamination of outdoor day care settings would benefit from the application of standardized and validated sampling and laboratory methods.