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J Hosp Infect. 2001 May;48(1):72-5.

Is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ward-based computer terminals a surrogate marker for nosocomial MRSA transmission and handwashing compliance?

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Departments of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, District General Hospital, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 2UD, UK.


A survey of two acute district general hospitals (A and B) was undertaken to investigate the extent of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ward-based computer terminals. Of 25 terminals examined, MRSA was identified in six (24%). Environmental contamination was of a low level. Five of the MRSA positive terminals were from hospital A which had a significantly higher rate of MRSA transmission compared to hospital B (1.02 vs. 0.49 new inpatient MRSA cases per 100 hospital admissions for 1999). MRSA containment and handwashing policies were similar at both hospitals, though only hospital B actively audited handwashing compliance and had a 44% higher rate of paper towel usage per hospital bed. Ward-based computer terminals pose a low risk of MRSA cross-infection. This risk can be further reduced if all staff wash their hands before and after patient contact.

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