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Background: The ability of many bacteria and fungi associated with artificial fingernails and natural fingernails to produce toxin(s) as well as exhibit other pathogenic potential is of public health concern. Superimposition of artificial fingernails over the natural fingernails has become a vogue in the fashion world particularly amongst women with little or no regards to a probable health implication. This study was carried out to compare the prevalence of microflora on artificial fingernails and natural fingernails from consented volunteers.
Methods: A cross–sectional survey of selected volunteers was randomly sampled and examined. Questionnaires were served to the respondents to sample their knowledge, attitude and practices on their choice nails. Aseptically scraped powdery crust from fingernail plate and associated fingernail underneath crust were obtained from 40 volunteers wearing artificial nails and 40 volunteers wearing natural nails. The samples were plated on diferent culture media for possible isolation of bacteria and fungi.
Results: Individual samples harbored different bacteria and fungi in varying densities with the percentages of the bacteria flora and fungi higher in those wearing artificial fingernails. The percentages of isolates obtained from artificial fingernails compared with natural fingernails were in ratios of; coagulase negative staphylococci (100:87.5), Staphylococcus aureus (95:80), Pseudomonas species(60:37.5) while Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophyte were in ratio of 12.5:2.5 and 7.5: 5 percent respectively. Candida albicans was recorded to be of highest percent (15) amongst the isolates of fungi from artificial fingernails.
Conclusion: Therefore, artificial fingernails could contribute to transmission of pathogens when kept unattended to, hence an increased awareness in proper hand washing and sanitizing must be exercised when such nail enhancement i.e. artificial nails are worn to forestall this pathogen transmission.
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