oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Staphylococcus aureus on computer mice and keyboards in intensive care units of the Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, and ICU staff's knowledge of its hazards and cleaning practices : original research
Nosocomial infections result in severe health and financial difficulties for patients and healthcare facilities. The objective of the study was to determine the presence of Staphylococcus aureus on computer mice and keyboards in the intensive care units (ICUs) of Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, and ICU staff's knowledge regarding cleaning of computer mice and keyboards and their potential hazard as reservoirs for pathogens. Swab specimens from computer mice and keyboards (14 each) were investigated for S. aureus. Swabbing was repeated six months later. Standard microbiology laboratory methods were used to culture and identify organisms. An anonymous questionnaire completed by the ICU staff determined their awareness of computer mice and keyboards as potential sources of nosocomial infections. In addition to various environmental microorganisms and normal human flora, S. aureus was initially isolated from one computer mouse, and from two keyboards and five mice six months later. The questionnaire response rate was 85.6%. Seventy-one percent of respondents stated that they regarded keyboards and mice as an important source of nosocomial infections. Nevertheless, 62% of doctors and 40.3% of nurses indicated that they never washed their hands before or after using the computer. Ninety-seven percent of respondents were not aware of an official cleaning policy for computer equipment. In order to prevent nosocomial infections resulting from microbial transmission between equipment, staff and patients, proper cleaning policies should be implemented.
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