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Int J Environ Health Res. 2008 Oct;18(5):357-64. doi: 10.1080/09603120802102465.

Monitoring environmental cleanliness on two surgical wards.

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Department of Microbiology, Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, UK.


Ten hand-touch sites were screened weekly on two surgical wards over two consecutive six-month periods. The results were analysed using hygiene standards, which specify (i) an aerobic colony count (ACC) > 2.5 cfu/cm(2), and (ii) presence of coagulase-positive staphylococci, as hygiene failures. Sites most often failing the standards were beds and hoist (64%: 33 of 52 weeks), bedside lockers (62%: 32 of 52) and overbed tables (44%: 23 of 52). Methicillin-susceptible/resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA/MRSA) were more often recovered from lockers, overbed tables and beds. Recovery of MSSA/MRSA at any site was significantly associated with an ACC > 2.5 cfu/cm(2) from that site (p = 0.001; OR: 3.35 [95% CI 1.79, 6.28]). In addition, total ACC's > 2.5 cfu/cm(2) each week were significantly associated with weekly bed occupancies > 95% (p = 0.0004; OR: 2.94 [95% CI 1.44, 6.02]). Higher microbial growth levels from hand-touch sites reflect weekly bed occupancies and indicate a risk for both resistant and susceptible S. aureus. These organisms are more likely to be recovered from near-patient sites on the ward.

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