Bacteriophages are naturally occurring, nonpathogenic viruses, which infect bacterial cells. Recently, bacteriophage research has increased with hopes of using them against antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in the future. This study aimed to determine a possible correlation between perceived stress and the Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage population at Coastal Carolina University (CCU), Conway, South Carolina, using isolation and characterization techniques to further understand humans as a potential bacteriophage source. From October 2020 to March 2021, nasal and postauricular swab samples were collected from 12 participants on a monthly basis along with a perceived stress survey. Samples were subjected to filtration, amplification, plaque assays, and PCR techniques to identify and characterize bacteriophage. The purpose of this study was to understand humans as a repository for bacteriophage and to understand factors, namely perceived stress, which affect bacteriophage presence on humans. Results suggested that possible changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased stress levels, mask wearing, and constant hand washing/ sanitizing, caused a drastic decrease in the Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus phage population at Coastal Carolina University.
Swanson, Korinne M.; Smith, Owen R.; Plank, Madaline N.; and Richardson, Paul E.
"Investigation of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteriophage Population at a South Carolina University: The Disappearance of S. aureus Bacteriophage Population Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 19:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol19/iss2/4