Understanding and Preventing Transmission of Healthcare-Associated Pathogens Due to the Contaminated Hospital Environment
Although pathogen transfer from a colonized or infected patient to a susceptible patient most commonly occurs via the hands of HCP, contaminated hospital surfaces and medical equipment (and, less commonly, water and air) can be directly or indirectly involved in the transmission pathways. These transmission pathways and methods to interrupt transmission have been diagramed. HCP have frequent contact with environmental surfaces in patients’ rooms, providing ample opportunity for contamination of gloves and/or hands.
Importantly, hand contamination with MRSA has been demonstrated to occur with equal frequency when HCP have direct contact with a colonized or infected patient or through touching only contaminated surfaces. The most important risk factor for HCP hand and glove contamination with multidrug-resistant pathogens has been demonstrated to be positive environmental cultures.
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