Bacterial Contamination of Floors in a Hematology/Oncology Unit in a Children's Hospital

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      Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) continue to be prevalent in hospitals, including pediatric Hematology/Oncology (HO) Units. Contamination of floors in HO units may pose a unique problem for the immunocompromised patients treated there. The objective of this study was to determine whether Clostridium difficile (Cdiff) or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were present on floors in a Hematology/Oncology unit of a Children's Hospital, potentially serving as a reservoir for these pathogens.


      Two locations in four rooms (floor at room entry and room bathroom floor), and two floor locations (main sink and the adjoining hallway) were swabbed weekly for seven weeks with sterile transport swabs. Swabs were used to inoculate Hardy CHROM MRSA agar plates (to detect MRSA), and to inoculate Hardy Cdiff Banana Broth tubes (to detect Cdiff). Incubation was at 37°C for 48 hours. Data was analyzed with SPSS 26 and used descriptive statistics and odds-ratios to compare contamination by site.


      Results of the cultures indicated the following: the percent positive swabs for the room sites for Cdiff were 29.2% and 25.0% (floor by door, and bathroom), and for the hallways were 19.0% and 33.3% (by the main sink, and main door). For MRSA presence the percent positive for the room sites were 42.3% and 26.9% (floor by door, and bathroom), and for the hallways 42.9% and 33.3% (by the main sink, and main door). Odds-ratios were highest (1.99) for room entry doors.


      The data presented suggests that Cdiff is fairly uniformly distributed throughout the floors of the rooms, possibly serving as the source of this contamination in the hallway. MRSA in the rooms appears to represent a possible reservoir for this pathogen, leading to contamination of the hallway floors. Our data suggests that the floors in HemOnc patient rooms present a potential hazard for HAIs in these patients.
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