News | February 15, 2007

Deadly Bacteria Found on Common Hospital Equipment

Feb. 16, 2007 - Hospital equipment management company EquipSystems found dangerous levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, yeasts and fungi on common, high-traffic hospital equipment - items that can be frequently overlooked in standard disinfection practices.

The study, which was completed in an actual hospital setting, tested over-the-bed tables, stretchers and geri chairs (soft recliners used during kidney dialysis or in ambulatory care recovery rooms). It was designed to assess patient care equipment to determine the amount of bacteria including Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), yeasts and fungi on surfaces before and after disinfection. Study samples were processed by the University of Arizona Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science.

Significant amounts of bacteria, including VRE, were found on all items tested. VRE, responsible for an estimated 10 percent of all hospital infections, is transmitted through human-to-human or surface-to-human contact. It is believed that there are two million healthcare-facility associated infections acquired each year resulting in 100,000 deaths and a treatment toll of $30 billion. The study showed a 99.9 percent reduction in all bacteria, yeast and fungi populations after thorough disinfection.

The tested items were not singled out for disinfection by the hospital staff. At the test site, over-the-bed trays were cleaned by the institution's housekeepers as part of their daily procedures. Geri chairs were cleaned the same way and showed significant bacteria on all surfaces. Stretchers' side rails, frequently handled by physicians and visitors, were not subject to routine disinfection.

EquipSystems assists hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care centers, dialysis centers and other healthcare facilities improve infection control standards, manage inventory and maintain compliance by disinfecting, cleaning, repairing and tracking hospital equipment.

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