Fourteen percent of 399 hospital patients tested in the study had “superbug” antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils very early in their hospital stay, the research finds. And nearly a third of tests for such bacteria on objects that patients commonly touch in their rooms, such as the nurse call button, came back positive.
Another six percent of the patients who didn’t have multi-drug resistant organisms; or MDROs, on their hands at the start of their hospitalization tested positive for them on their hands later in their stay. One-fifth of the objects tested in their rooms had similar superbugs on them too.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

The research team cautions that the presence of MDROs on patients or objects in their rooms; so does not necessarily mean that patients will get sick with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And they note that healthcare workers‘ hands are still the primary mode of microbe transmission to patients.

Hand hygiene narrative has largely focus on physicians, nurses and other frontline staff; also all the policies and performance measurements center on them, and rightfully so,” says Lona Mody, M.D., M.Sc., the University of Michigan geriatrician; so epidemiologist and patient safety researcher who led the research team. “But our findings make an argument for addressing transmission of MDROs in a way that involves patients, too.

In addition to MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; so the study look for super bugs called VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus) and a group called RGNB; so for resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Because of overuse of antibiotics, these bacteria have evolve the ability; so to withstand attempts to treat infections with drugs that once kill them.
Mody notes that the study suggests that many of the MDROs seen on patients are also seen in their rooms early in their stay; suggesting that transmission to room surfaces is rapid. They heads the Infection Prevention in Aging; so research group at the U-M Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

General medicine inpatients

The team made more than 700 visits to the rooms of general medicine inpatients at two hospitals; so working to enroll them in the study and take samples from their bodies and often-touch surfaces as early as possible in their stay. They were not able to test rooms before the patients arrive; also did not test patients who had surgery, or were in intensive care or other types of units.

Using genetic fingerprinting techniques, they look to see if the strains of MRSA bacteria; so on the patients’ hands were the same as the ones in their rooms. They find the two match in nearly all cases suggesting that transfer to and from the patient was happening. The technique is not able to distinguish the direction of transfer; so whether it’s from patient to objects in the room, or from those objects to patients.

Cleaning procedures for hospital rooms between patients, especially when a patient has diagnose with an MDRO infection, have improve over the years, says Mody, and research has shown them to be effective when use consistently. So lingering contamination from past patients may not have been a major factor.
Infection prevention is everybody’s business,” says Mody, a professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. “They are all in this together. No matter where you are, in a healthcare environment or not, this study is a good reminder to clean your hands often, using good techniques especially before and after preparing food, before eating food, after using a toilet, and before and after caring for someone who is sick to protect yourself and others.