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april 11, 2005-contact with computer keyboards and keyboard covers allows transmission of resistant bacteria to gloved and ungloved hands, according to the results of a study presented today at the 15th annual scientific meeting of the society for healthcare epidemiology of america in los angeles, california. while regular disinfection of computer equipment is recommended, the most important disease prevention strategy is handwashing prior to patient contact.
"there's been an increasing trend towards maintaining electronic health records and computerized order entry, and in some hospitals there's now a computer in every patient's room that could potentially serve as a reservoir for the transmission of resistant bacteria," senior investigator gary a. noskin, md, told medscape. he is associate professor of medicine at northwestern university feinberg school of medicine and medical director of healthcare epidemiology at northwestern memorial hospital in chicago, illinois.
to determine the viability of bacteria survival, the investigators inoculated clean computer keyboards and keyboard covers with clinical isolates of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus faecium
(vre), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
(mrsa), and pseudomonas aeruginosa
(psae). samples drawn from these surfaces at regular intervals showed that vre and mrsa were capable of prolonged survival on keyboards and covers (growth at 24 hours), while psae was not (keyboards, one hour; covers, five minutes).
the investigators then confirmed that the bacteria were transmissible from the keyboards and covers to fingers. transmission increased with keyboard contact (1 to 5 touches; vre: 22% to 50%, mrsa: 42% to 92%, psae: 9% to 18%), and the transmission rate of vre and mrsa was higher for ungloved hands than for gloved hands (67% vs 7% and 80% vs 67%, respectively). similar transmission rates were observed for keyboard covers.
"not only do vre and mrsa organisms survive on these surfaces, but they can be transmitted from the surfaces to the hands of healthcare workers," dr. noskin pointed out...."
for the rest of the story, go to the link (you have to register):
Apr 22, '05
Is anyone out there using disposable keyboards?
I've gotten some "promotional literature" about them but am unaware of any facilities using them. They look un-ergonomic -- flat and flexible (you can roll them up), and you can spray disinfectant on them. It's a great idea if they're user-friendly.
Last edit by kitty=^..^=cat on Apr 22, '05
: Reason: To add that they're less than $10 each, I believe...