Hospital Rooms Crawling With Drug-Resistant Germs:
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of 50 hospital
rooms tested by researchers were colonized or infected with a
multidrug-resistant bacteria, a new study says.
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found
Acinetobacter baumannii(MDR-AB) bacteria on multiple
surfaces, including bedrails, supply carts and floors. This species
of bacteria, which has caused infection outbreaks in health care
facilities over the last decade, can survive on surfaces for long
periods of time. MDR-AB infections mainly occur in patients who are
very ill, wounded or have weakened immune systems.
For the study, the researchers analyzed samples collected from
10 surfaces in each of 50 hospital rooms occupied by patients with
a recent (less than two months prior to sampling) or remote (more
than two months) history of MDR-AB.
The surfaces selected for sampling included bedrails, bedside
table, door knob, vital sign monitor touchpad, nurse call button,
sink, supply cart drawer handles, infusion pump, ventilator surface
touch pad, and the floor on both sides of the bed.
The researchers found that 9.8 percent of the surface samples
from 48 percent of the rooms showed evidence of MDR-AB. The
surfaces most commonly contaminated were supply cart handles (20
percent), floors (16 percent), infusion pumps (14 percent),
ventilator touchpads (11.4 percent), and bedrails (just over 10
These findings are a cause for concern because these surfaces
are routinely touched by health care workers, the researchers
The study, published in the November issue of the
American Journal of Infection Control, also found that patients with a recent history of MDR-AB were no more likely to contaminate their hospital room than those with a remote history.
"For patients with MDR-AB, the surrounding environment is frequently contaminated, even among patients with a remote history of MDR-AB," the researchers concluded in a journal news release. "In addition, surfaces often touched by health care workers during routine patient care are commonly contaminated and may be a source of (hospital-based) transmission. The results of this study are consistent with studies of other important hospital pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant
However, the study does not show which came first -- MDR-AB or
Also, the researchers noted that since they conducted their
study, new methods of reducing transmission of MDR-AB have helped
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
health care-associated infections.
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