Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Those Pesky Bedrails! Vectors of Contagion.

Bedrails and other hospital surfaces- vectors of contagion
We all know that the hospital environment is teeming with pathogens. Here is an article in the Journal of Hospital Infection that confirms the ease of hospital bedrail colonization. In a controlled, laboratory environment, bacterial transfer from fingertips to rail ranged from 38% to 64%. Transfer from rail to fingertip ranged from 22% to 38%. 

Of course, the prevention of hospital acquired infections requires diverse strategies, including hand hygiene, of which I refer you to this posting. Checklists, such as for central lines, are also important. Disinfection of the inanimate environment is vitally important too.

The relative contribution of healthcare worker hands, invasive devices, inanimate environment, antibiotic (mis)use and inherent patient characteristics (illnesses, colonization with drug resistant pathogens etc.)  to the acquisition of a healthcare associated infection remains unclear and debatable. 

This knowledge would be the equivalent of infection prevention enlightenment.

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