Researchers with the Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System strictly tracked contamination in hospital rooms of 17 newly admitted patients to determine the timing and route of transfer of bacteria within patients’ rooms. Before testing, rooms were completely cleaned and sanitized, and all patients screened negative for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other healthcare-associated bacteria.
‘Hospital floors can be contaminated with both bacterial and viral pathogens. The new study cites under-recognized bacteria source that highlights need to improve infection control.’
Researchers then examined patients’ interactions with healthcare personnel and portable equipment, obtaining cultures one-to-three times per day from patients, their socks, beds, and other high-touch surfaces, as well as key sections of the floor.
Almost half of the rooms tested positive for MRSA within the first 24 hours, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and MRSA, C. difficile pathogens were identified in 58 percent of patient rooms within four days of admission. Contamination often started on the floors but eventually moved to patients’ socks, bedding, and nearby surfaces.
Researchers remarked several limitations of the study, including the small sample size and variables in characteristics among patients and healthcare personnel that could affect how generalizable the study findings are to other hospitals.