Original contribution| Volume 41, ISSUE 2, P124-127, August 2011

The Prevalence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus on Inanimate Objects in an Urban Emergency Department

Published:December 29, 2008DOI:


      Background: There is a rising prevalence of both hospital-acquired and community-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Both strains are found in patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs). Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify objects in the ED that might contribute to the spread of MRSA. Methods: This was a cross-sectional prevalence study in which culture swabs were taken from 20 different objects in a large urban ED between May and August 2006. The objects were identified a priori, and included common items found in an ED. Items ranging from computers to telephones, desktop surfaces, security door keypads, and ultrasound probes were included in the study. Each item was cultured twice, on separate days, for a total of 40 samples. The samples were screened for the presence of MRSA, and positive samples underwent additional susceptibility analysis. Results: Only one sample of 40, from the ambulance bay security door keypad, was positive for MRSA. Thus, the prevalence of MRSA was 2.5%. The single strain isolated was resistant to clindamycin, erythromycin, oxacillin, and penicillin. Conclusion: MRSA does not seem to thrive on inanimate objects found in the ED. Routine cleaning measures in an urban ED must include all areas of medical personnel use, including areas outside of the department utilized by non-ED workers.


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