Evaluation of bacteriological risks of barbershops in Kenyatta Market, Nairobi County, Kenya

  • A.K. Mwabu
  • A.N. Kimanga
  • C Bii


Background: There is a growing concern that barber shops could serve as potential reservoirs of bacterial, fungal or even viral pathogens. Along with this background little is known about microbiological hazards associated with barbershops in Kenyatta Market, Nairobi County.

Objective: To determine the microbiological hazards of barber shops by isolating and identifying potential bacterial pathogens from materials and equipment used in barber shops by swabbing surfaces of combs, brush, shaving machines/ clippers, customer apron, shelve and towels using moistened sterile cotton swabs.

Design: Cross sectional study design was used to evaluate microbiological hazards of barber shops.

Setting: Kenyatta market and its environs, barber shops.

Subjects: All barbers within Kenyatta market as well as those around Ngumo and who consented to participate in the study and whose barber shops have the materials and equipment of interest.

Results: A total of 56 bacterial isolates were isolated from the barbershop’s materials and equipment. The overall prevalence of pathogenic bacteria was Staphylococcus aureus 17(68.0%), E. coli 14 (56%), P. aeruginosa 14 (56.0%) and Klebsiella spp. 11(44.0%). P. aeruginosa microbial hazards were more associated with the customer aprons 6 (24.0%) , E. coli with shelves 8 (32.0%) and S. aureus with shaving machines 10 (40.0%), Klebsiella spp. was more associated with shelves, brushes and customer aprons respectively 3(12.0%). Chi square test of association showed that there was association in the type of bacteria isolated from materials and equipment at x2 = 45.710, df = 23, P =0.001. A one sample t-test analysis to test for the variation in the bacteria strains in the barber shops indicated that there was no significant difference in the number of the bacteria strains isolated in the shops (t = 1.29, P = 0.211).

Conclusion: Barbering procedures particularly in Kenyatta market is associated with risks of bacterial infections both to the clients and the barbers through contaminated barber shop materials and equipment. In this regard, barbershops in Kenyatta market could serve as potential reservoir for potential bacterial pathogens for transmission to the general public. This should be a public health concern that calls for legislative mechanism to instill sanitary practices in this important public health practice.


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eISSN: 0012-835X