The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

BACTERIAL COLONIZATION OF RESPIRATORY THERAPIST DOCUMENTING EQUIPMENT IN THE HOSPITAL

David F. Wolfe1, James L. Vossler2, Brian Norako2



Background: Nosocomial infections are of increasing concern in the health care field. Most bacteria that cause nosocomial infections are opportunistic pathogens. The majority of these bacteria are environmental contaminates. Equipment used by healthcare workers has been shown to be contaminated with bacteria that are known to cause nosocomial infections.

Methods: Documentation equipment used by respiratory therapists was examined for the presence of bacteria. Thirty samples were collected from tablets, tablet pens, or mobile computer keyboards and cultured for the presence of bacteria using standard microbiological techniques. If growth was present, the recovered bacteria were enumerated and identified.

Results: Bacteria was recovered from 8 of the samples (27%). Bacterial loads ranged from 100-200 colony forming units per sampled area. Coagulase-negative staphylococcus and bacillus species was identified.

Conclusion: This limited study demonstrated that although no organisms regularly associated with nosocomial infections (i.e. methicillin-resistant S. aureus or gram negative bacilli) were recovered, documentation equipment can carry bacteria and could act as both a reservoir and vector of microorganisms and therefore could be a source of organisms responsible for nosocomial infections.