Hospital floors, employees' shoes may be 'underappreciated source' of MRSA spread: study

Hospital floors and shoes could be an overlooked source for dissemination of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other healthcare-associated pathogens, according to a study performed at a VA hospital in Ohio. 

Researchers from Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland examined how often MRSA transmission occurred from the floors of contaminated rooms to adjacent rooms. Researchers had healthcare workers walk into the index rooms and then into the two adjacent rooms. After conducting three to four simulations for each room, researchers measured the number of MRSA colony-forming units on the floors of the adjacent rooms. 

MRSA was transferred in 18 of 38 assessments in the first adjacent room, and in 12 of 38 assessments from adjacent room two, according to the findings published Sept. 30 in the American Journal of Infection Control. 

"These findings build upon evidence suggesting that contaminated floors and shoes could be an underappreciated source for pathogen dissemination in healthcare facilities," researchers said. "Future studies are needed to assess the impact of interventions such as floor or shoe disinfection on transfer of pathogens." 

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