How dangerous is the environment of a patient with respect to transfer of MRSA

Abstract number: 902_p572

Maxwell S.


Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a dangerous and persistent hospital pathogen. It is accepted that the major source of this organism within the hospital environment is infected and colonised patients’ themselves. However, there is little documented fact on the relative importance of the patients’ environment in the spread of this organism.


To assess the degree of contamination of the patient's immediate environment and to estimate the likelihood of spread of MRSA from this environment to Health Care Workers and via them to other patients.


A 5-week prospective study was carried out on a variety of wards, The environments of 29 colonised patients were sampled, including 29 curtains both sides, 59 hard surfaces, and 58 samples of the gloved hands of the investigator after samples had been taken. Curtains were sampled by direct indentation of the curtains on to selective agar. Hard surfaces were swabbed and hands were sampled using the finger streak method. Ten control environments containing patients who were not known to be colonised were also sampled.


MRSA was isolated in 15 of the 29 environments. It was found on the sampler's hands on eight occasions out of the 29.


MRSA is a frequent contaminant of the patients’ environment especially soft furnishings such as curtains. It is readily transferred to the hands after minimal contact. These findings need to be taken into consideration when cleaning protocols are devised and are especially important in terminal cleaning after patients’ infected or colonised with MRSA have been discharged.


Session Details

Date: 01/08/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: XXIst ISTH Congress
Location: Oxford, UK
Presentation type:
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