Contamination of wheelchairs by Staphylococcus aureus

Harumasa Hakuno, Shigeharu Oie, Hiroyuki Furukawa


We investigated Staphylococcus aureus contamination of the hand rims and handles of wheelchairs for common use on hospital wards by wiping with gauze. Examination of the hand rims of a total of 20 wheelchairs revealed methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and/or methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) on 17 wheelchairs (85.0%), and MRSA on 11 (55.0%). The mean ± SD (range) density of MRSA contamination was 320.8 ± 812.3 (2-2.8×103) colony-forming units (cfu)/hand rim. Examination of the handles of the 20 wheelchairs showed MRSA on 3 (15.0%). The incidence of S. aureus contamination and its density were higher on hand rims than on handles. After the hand rims were disinfected by wiping with 80vol% ethanol, S. aureus was not detected on any of them. Since S. aureus may potentially be transmitted via shared wheelchairs, their disinfection after every use is recommended.


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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