Taiwanese researchers have revealed that computer equipment being used in a hospital may harbour pathogenic organisms, including MRSA.
Yen-hsu Chen, from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, studied IT equipment in a 1600-bed medical center in southern Taiwan with 47 wards and 282 computers.
"Most hospital computer devices are not waterproof, or otherwise designed for disinfection needs. Clinically, A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa, and MRSA cause the most common nosocomial infections, and their presence correlates with environmental surface contamination. We screened 282 computer stations, looking for these bacteria and other, less dangerous, species," he said.
He and his colleagues found a 17.4 per cent contamination rate of S. aureus, Acinetobacter spp. or Pseudomonas spp.
The contamination rates of MRSA and A. baumannii in the ward computers were 1.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.
No P. aeruginosa was found.
Despite the findings suggesting that hospital computer equipment can act as a reservoir for pathogenic organisms, Chen says that bacterial contamination rates from computer equipment were found to be low, possibly as the result of good hand hygiene.
He said: "No clinical correlation of contamination of these computer devices to clinical isolates was found. Routine disinfection and even surveillance of these computer devices may not be mandatory in non-outbreak settings."
The finding shave been reported in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases.