Washing machines have one job — to clean — but that doesn’t mean they’re germ-free. Indeed, a new study suggests they can sometimes harbor drug-resistant bacteria that could pose risks to susceptible people.

The study researchers describe a unique case in which a washing machine was linked to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria to newborns at a German hospital. It appears to be the first reported case of a hospital’s washing machine spreading harmful pathogens to patients, the authors said.

 

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Photo credit:  Samuli Lintula with Turun Tekstiilihuolto Oy [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]