Researchers from University of Iowa have found that while privacy curtains in hospitals do provide some sort of barrier between patients, they are also one of the most dangerous vectors of harmful bacteria.
Lead researcher Michael Ohl said that the curtains are filled with dangerous bacteria, including the MRSA "superbug", and said that there is a real danger of transferring them on to the patients since doctors and the staff often touches these curtains after washing their hands before touching the patients.
Ohl and his colleagues tested over 43 privacy curtains at medical and surgical intensive care units and on a medical ward of the University of Iowa Hospitals twice a week for three weeks. He found that almost all of the curtains, 41 of the 43 tested, showed that they were contaminated at some point during the period.
Speaking to Retuers Health, Ohl said, "There is growing recognition that the hospital environment plays an important role in the transmission of infections in the health care setting, and it's clear that these (privacy curtains) are potentially important sites of contamination because they are frequently touched by patients and providers."