BALTIMORE — Commonly used cleaning measures for disinfecting
hospital bed mattresses and bed decks did not eliminate contamination of
Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Micrococcus, and gram-negative
rods in a single-community hospital, according to a presenter here.
“The current research fits into the growing body of evidence that
the hospital environment is dirty; is not being cleaned well enough; and that
this failure to clean the environment is leading to hospital-acquired
infections and deaths,” Edmond A. Hooker, MD, DrPH,of the
department of health services administration at Xavier University in
Cincinnati, said during a presentation. “Hospitals must stop ignoring the
hospital environment as the source of
hospital acquired infections.”
Edmond A. Hooker, MD, DrPH
Hooker and colleagues set out to determine the extent to which hospital
mattresses and bed decks were being disinfected. “Data are generally
lacking on the bacteriologic effects of commercial cleaning agents that are
used to disinfect mattresses and bed decks,” they wrote in the study
Flexible film plates hydrated with 0.9 mL of buffered peptone water were
used to assess bacteria on the surfaces of 39 hospital bed mattresses after
being cleaned with a benzalkonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium
Of the 39 mattresses sampled, 84.6% tested positive for bacteria.
Colony-forming units (CFU) per 30 cm2 ranged from 1 to “too
numerous to count” (mean 7.3 CFU)”, according to the researchers. In
addition, 54.6% of the 39 bed decks sampled tested positive for bacteria, with
a CFU per 30 cm2 that ranged from 1 to 550 (mean 24.2). Bacteria
that were present included: Staphylococcus, Bacillus,
Micrococcus and gram-negative rods.
“Hospital beds are dirty and cannot be cleaned adequately using
current cleaning protocols,” Hooker said. “I would like to see the
clinical trials of the launderable hospital cover in critical areas to prove it
decreases hospital-acquired infections.” – by Ashley DeNyse
For more information:
- Hooker EA. #2-14. Presented at: the Association for Professionals
in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC) 38th Annual Educational
Conference and International Meeting; June 27-29, 2011; Baltimore.
Disclosure: Xavier University received a grant to support
research from a private foundation that has an investor in Trinity Guardion,
the manufacturer of the launderable mattress cover, serving as a trustee.