Washington, DC, November 1, 2011 -- Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDR-AB) was found in the environment of 48 percent of the rooms of patients colonized or infected with the pathogen, according to a new study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC - the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
The study examined how frequently the environment surrounding the patient becomes contaminated and which environmental surfaces are most commonly contaminated.
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine took samples from ten surfaces in each of 50 rooms inhabited by patients with a recent (less than two months prior to environmental sampling) or remote (more than two months) history of MDR-AB. Surfaces sampled included the door knob, bedrails, bedside table, vital sign monitor touchpad, nurse call button, sink, supply cart drawer handles, infusion pump, ventilator surface touch pad, as well as the floor on both sides of the patient's bed. Of these, 9.8 percent of surface samples representing 48 percent of the tested rooms showed environmental growth of A. baumannii.
Further, the study found that patients with a recent history of MDR-AB colonization or infection were not significantly more likely than those with a remote history of MDR-AB to contaminate their environment.
The authors note several potential limitations including small sample size, lack of a comparison group, and the inability to determine which came first: environmental contamination or patient colonization/infection. In addition, the study did not evaluate healthcare worker or patient movement and therefore cannot demonstrate transmission of Acinetobacter baumannii to patients as a result of environmental contamination.
Since the study was conducted, new strategies to reduce transmissio
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Elsevier Health Sciences