Investigators have revealed that the Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium Clostridium difficile is widely distributed in soil samples from children's and dogs' sandboxes located within the metropolitan area of Madrid.
The researchers also found the presence of genetically diverse strains of C. difficile. The presence of certain strains displaying increased toxin production, and in some cases multidrug resistance, could constitute a major health risk. This bacterium can cause symptoms in human and animal hosts ranging from mild diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
"Our results are just a call to action. A 'One Health; approach is required in future environmental surveys for this emerging pathogen," said professor José Blanco, corresponding author of the Zoonoses and Public Health study.