Sewer swab, Europe, 1996

1996 in Europe

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Group shot of two sewer swabs (folded muslin bandage) of the type used to collect bacteriological samples. Whole
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

One sewer swab (folded muslin bandage) of the type used to collect bacteriological samples.

Testing and monitoring the contents of sewers is important as certain diseases – including potentially fatal diseases such as cholera and typhus – are carried in water. The bacteria from those infected can be carried in faeces and potentially transmitted to the water supply. Sewer swabs can help identify the source of disease.

Connected to a piece of strong string is a folded muslin bandage. The bandage would be left in or stretched across a sewer or water pipes to collect samples of bacteria.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
1996-401 Pt1
sewer swab
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
Public Health Laboratory Service

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