Keyboards and mice can harbor hospital infections

September 30, 2009

Although hospital computer equipment can act as a reservoir for pathogenic organisms, including MRSA, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases found that bacterial contamination rates from computer equipment were low, possibly as the result of good hand hygiene.

Yen-hsu Chen, from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Taiwan, led a team of researchers who studied IT equipment in a 1600-bed medical center in southern Taiwan with 47 wards and 282 computers. He said, "Most hospital computer devices are not waterproof, or otherwise designed for disinfection needs. Clinically, A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa, and MRSA cause the most common nosocomial infections, and their presence correlates with environmental surface contamination. We screened 282 computer stations, looking for these bacteria and other, less dangerous, species".

The results revealed a 17.4% (49/282) contamination rate of S. aureus, Acinetobacter spp. or Pseudomonas spp. The contamination rates of MRSA and A. baumannii in the ward computers were 1.1% and 4.3%, respectively. No P. aeruginosa was found. According to Chen, "No clinical correlation of contamination of these computer devices to clinical isolates was found. Routine disinfection and even surveillance of these computer devices may not be mandatory in non-outbreak settings".

More information: Methicillin-resistant and Acinetobacter baumannii on computer interface surfaces of hospital wards and association with clinical isolates, Po-Liang Lu, L. k Siu, Tun-Chieh Chen, Ling Ma, Wen-Gin Chiang, Yen-Hsu Chen, Sheng-Fung Lin and Tyen-Po Chen, BMC Infectious Diseases (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcinfectdis/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

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