Resistive Strain Organisms

There is an increasing awareness by infection control personnel that touch surfaces can play a major role in the spread of microorganisms. Of particular concern is the potential spread of antibiotic – resistant organisms such as vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), which is known to be transmitted from surfaces (Temple et al. 2000). This resistant organism is on the increase in hospitals throughout the United States. A study of upholstered chairs found that VRE are capable of prolonged survival on fabric seat cushions. In many hospitals, cloth-styled covering is preferred by management to increase patient comfort while in the hospital or long term care facility. However, these create potential reservoirs for the nosocomial transmission of VRE (Noskin et al. 2000). In another study, Mermel et al. (2000) found that at a number of cultured sites within patients’ rooms, the highest rates of VRE were found on patient telephone handsets. Additional VRE organisms were found on bed rails, over-

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© 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands.

bed tables and sink faucets. This was further supported by studies conducted by Rutala et al. (2000) and by Diekema et al. (2004). Another resistive strain namely, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRS A), was found on computer keyboards and computer mice used in the medicine wards and other acute care areas (Valena et al. 2000). MRSA was also found on hospital bed handsets (Young, J. M. et al. 2005) including call buttons and TV remote control devices. A further study of hospitals in Pennsylvania (Volavka, M. 2005) found that more than 11,600 patients got infections while in hospitals over a one year period. These infections led to 1500 (13%) deaths and over $2 billion in hospital charges.