News | November 07, 2006

Compulsory Cleaning Keyboard Battles MRSA

A new keyboard that reminds its user that it needs to be cleaned regularly has been developed by scientists at the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), with backing from NHS Connecting for Health.

The Advanced Input Systems Medigenic keyboard, which is claimed could cut cases of the MRSA superbug by up to 10 percent, was producted by UCLH consultant microbiologist Dr. Peter Wilson and clinical scientist Dr. Paul Ostro, with the support of NHS CfH.

Microbiologists at the trust created a keyboard equipped with a timing device which warns nursing staff when they need cleaning, and hidden sensors which ensure that the surfaces are cleaned properly with alcohol wipes.

The scientists wanted to create a new way of ensuring that infection risks did not rise as more computers are used in the NHS.

UCLH's own studies have shown that 20 percent of keyboards may carry MRSA. Commonly used plastic keyboard covers that are rarely cleaned could also collect bacteria. This increases the risk of passing on the superbug, which kills around 5000 people a year in the UK.

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