Environmental microbiome in the home and daycare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential risk of non-communicable disease in children

Jill McKay, Matthew Crown, Matthew Bashton, David Pearce, Jane Entwistle, Vartul Sangal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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An exposure to diverse microbial population early in life is important for the development of immunity against various non‐communicable diseases including asthma, childhood leukaemia and other cancers. Social mixing in daycare settings helps with exposure to a variety of microbes. However, social isolation and a high emphasis on workplace hygiene during the COVID pandemic may have affected children's exposure to diverse microbiota. The structure of microbial communities and their role in developing immunity to various diseases are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the structure of microbial communities in daycare and home settings during the pandemic. Interestingly, microbial diversity was relatively higher in dust samples collected from homes, with human‐associated taxa being more prevalent compared to those from daycare settings. Environmental microbes were more abundant in dust samples from daycare providers. These results potentially suggest that cleaning practices during the pandemic may have influenced the diversity and microbial abundance of the daycare samples. Several bacterial taxa detected in both the environments are known to induce anti‐inflammatory and immunomodulatory responses, conferring protection from various diseases. Therefore, exposure to diverse microbial population in early childhood may play an important role in developing immunity against various non‐communicable and infectious diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13233
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Early online date12 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2024

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