Bacteria on fingerprint scanners of biometric attendance machines

Bhoj Raj Singh, Obli Rajendran Vinodhkumar, Dharmendra Kumar Sinha, Himani Agri

Microbiology Research International
Published: October 29 2019
Volume 7, Issue 4
Pages 31-39


Biometric devices (BDs) are nowadays common in use for a variety of purposes. The study conducted to assess the bacterial load on fingerprint scanners (FPS) of BDs revealed the presence of 0.26 × 103 to 3.83 × 103 colony-forming units of bacteria per cm2 of FPS. A total of 58 isolates of bacteria belonging to 23 species of which 42 isolates had multiple drug-resistant were identified on FPS of 17 BDs. Types of bacteria and bacterial load on finger print scanners of high use BDs was significantly (p, ≤ 0.01) higher than on FPS of low use BDs. Gram negative bacteria belonging to Aeromonas bestiarum 1, A. media 2, Enterobacter agglomerans 10, Erwinia mallotivora 2, Escherichia coli 1, Klebsiella pneumoniae ssp. pneumoniae 1, and Shewanella putrifaciens 1, were detected from nine finger print scanners. The 40 gram-positive bacteria were detected on all finger print scanners’ samples and belonged to five genera. Both of the Bacillus thurigiensis isolates were from finger print scanners of BDs installed in the same building. Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis strains were detected on three samples each. All 22 isolates of staphylococci were resistant to methicillin and oxacillin and 20 had multiple drug-resistance. Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus, E. faecalis, was detected in one sample and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus were detected from two samples. Both of the linezolid-resistant isolates (Staphylococcus chromogenes and Streptococcus milleri) were detected from finger print scanners of two of the high use BDs. Of the 58 isolates, 10 from seven samples (all from high use or medium use BDs) were resistant to one or more carbapenem drugs and two isolates of Enterobacter agglomerans possessed metallo-β-lactamase activity. The study indicated that BDs may be harbouring potentially dangerous superbugs and suggest the use of touch-less BDs for commonplace uses.

Keywords: Biometric devices, Carbapenem resistance, Aeromonas, Enterobacter agglomerans, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Shewanella putrifaciens.

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