New Study Addresses Hand Hygiene and Contamination of Keyboards

A new study to be published in BMC Infectious Diseases examines the issue of hand hygiene and the bacterial contamination of computer keyboards and mice.

Lu et al. conducted their study in a 1,600-bed medical center of southern Taiwan with 47 wards and 282 computers. With education and monitoring program of hand hygiene of healthcare workers, the average compliance rate was 74 percent before the researchers’ surveillance.

They investigated the association of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii, three leading hospital-acquired pathogens, from ward computer keyboards, mice and from clinical isolates in non-outbreak period by pulsed field gel electrophoresis and antibiogram.

The results revealed a 17.4 percent (49/282) contamination rate of these computer devices by S. aureus, Acinetobacter spp. or Pseudomonas spp. The contamination rates of MRSA and A. baumannii in the ward computers were 1.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. No P. aeruginosa was isolated. All isolates from computers and clinical specimens at the same ward showed different pulsotypes. However, A. baumannii isolates on two ward computers had the same pulsotype.

The researchers concluded that with good hand hygiene compliance, they found relatively low contamination rates of MRSA, P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii on ward computer interface, and without further contribution to nosocomial infection. They say their results suggest no necessity of routine culture surveillance in a non-outbreak situation.

Reference: Po-Liang Lu, L. k Siu, Tun-Chieh Chen, Ling Ma, Wen-Gin Chiang, Yen-Hsu Chen, Sheng-Fung Lin  and Tyen-Po Chen. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii on computer interface surfaces of hospital wards and association with clinical isolates. BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:164doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-164