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Lab analysis of childrens' COVID-19 face masks reveal 'dangerous' 'pathogenic bacteria'

Meningococcal, pneumonia bacteria detected in used face coverings.

Updated: June 23, 2021 - 10:56am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Recent laboratory analysis of several used face masks worn by children revealed the presence of "pathogenic bacteria" lab technicians called "dangerous" clinging to the materials of the masks.

The samples were sent by a group of Florida parents to the University of Florida's Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center. Amanda Donoho, one of the parents who coordinated the experiment via a local parents' Facebook group, told Just the News she decided to test the masks after her son developed a "giant rash" on his face.

Repeated treatments from her child's pediatrician were not successful in curing the rash. A facial scraping from a dermatologist finally determined it was a fungal infection. The dermatological clinicians said the moisture from the mask was to blame.  

Donoho said she and several other parents had been "talking to the school board about lifting some of these mask requirements since fall of last year." After her son's diagnosis, she helped organize the mask test with the University of Florida lab. 

The reports from the lab found multiple, "quite dangerous" bacteria samples in the tested masks, among them streptococcus pneumoniae, mycobacterium tuberculosis, staphylococcus aureus, and numerous others.

In some cases, the lab technicians pointedly underscored the dangers presented by the bacteria. Noting the presence of neisseria meningitidis in the masks, the technicians wrote that the bacterium "causes meningitis and life threatening sepsis," while another bacteria, staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 Strep can result in a "severe invasive infection." 

Kari Basso, the director of the University of Florida lab, said the masks were "submitted as a service for a fee, similar to sending a blood test to Lab Core."

She declined to comment on the findings, though she confirmed that the reports were written directly by the lab technicians. 

Many schools have implemented strict mask mandates for children who returned to in-person instruction, though data have regularly indicated that children remain at very low risk for catching or spreading SARS-Cov-2.

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