Major article| Volume 41, ISSUE 4, P337-339, April 2013

Download started.


Computer keyboard covers impregnated with a novel antimicrobial polymer significantly reduce microbial contamination

Published:October 04, 2012DOI:


      Contaminated computer keyboards have been acknowledged as a potential source for bacterial transmission between health care providers and patients. Biosafe HM 4100 is an antimicrobial polymer that can be incorporated into the polyurethane material used to make keyboard covers. This study aimed to determine whether plastic keyboard covers containing HM 4100 effectively minimize the survival of bacterial species commonly present on health care environmental surfaces.


      Polyurethane material that contained 0.5% HM 4100, 1% HM 4100, and 1% HM 4100 with spray coating of 1% HM 4100 were tested. In 2 separate experiments, the surfaces of test materials were inoculated with suspensions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VREF), Escherichia coli, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Viability was assessed on the materials at 0, 10, 30, 60, 120, and 240 minutes after inoculation.


      Maximum reductions in viability were observed for all 4 organisms at the longest tested time period on each test material. Mean reductions on the 0.5% HM 4100 material at 240 minutes were 99.99% for E coli, 97.8% for MRSA, 95.0% for VREF, and 92.1% for P aeruginosa. Mean reductions on the 1% HM 4100 at 120 minutes were 99.9% for VREF, 99.9% for MRSA, 99.9% for P aeruginosa, and 99.5% for E coli. Mean reductions on the 1% HM 4100 plus spray coating at 30 minutes were 99.9% for E coli, 99.8% for VREF, 98.8% for P aeruginosa, and 97.2% for MRSA.


      Incorporation of the HM 4100 antimicrobial polymer into polyurethane keyboard material may reduce the hand carriage of bacteria between health care providers and patients.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Infection Control
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Bures S.
        • Fishbain J.T.
        • Uyehara C.F.
        • Parker J.M.
        • Berg B.W.
        Computer keyboards and faucet handles as reservoirs of nosocomial pathogens in the intensive care unit.
        Am J Infect Control. 2000; 28: 465-471
      1. Biosafe: Learn More. Available from: Accessed February 27, 2012.

        • Lu P.-L.
        • Siu L.K.
        • Chen T.C.
        • Ma L.
        • Chiang W.G.
        • Chen Y.-H.
        • et al.
        Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii on computer interface surfaces of hospital wards and association with clinical isolates.
        BMC Infect Dis. 2009; 9: 164
        • Man G.S.
        • Olapoju M.
        • Chadwick M.V.
        • Vuddamaly P.
        • Hall A.V.
        • Edwards A.
        • et al.
        Bacterial contamination of ward-based computer terminals.
        J Hosp Infect. 2002; 52: 314-318
        • Neely A.N.
        • Maley M.P.
        • Warden G.D.
        Computer keyboards as reservoirs for Acinetobacter baumannii in a burn hospital.
        Clin Infect Dis. 1999; 29: 1358-1360
        • Rutala W.A.
        • White M.S.
        • Gergen M.F.
        • Wever D.J.
        Bacterial contamination of keyboards: efficacy and functional impact of disinfectants.
        Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2006; 27: 372-377