close Icon

An investigation of contact transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

McBryde ES, Bradley LC, Whitby M, McElwain DL

  • Journal The Journal of hospital infection

  • Published 26 Nov 2004

  • Volume 58

  • ISSUE 2

  • Pagination 104-8

  • DOI 10.1016/j.jhin.2004.06.010


Hand hygiene is critical in the healthcare setting and it is believed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for example, is transmitted from patient to patient largely via the hands of health professionals. A study has been carried out at a large teaching hospital to estimate how often the gloves of a healthcare worker are contaminated with MRSA after contact with a colonized patient. The effectiveness of handwashing procedures to decontaminate the health professionals' hands was also investigated, together with how well different healthcare professional groups complied with handwashing procedures. The study showed that about 17% (9-25%) of contacts between a healthcare worker and a MRSA-colonized patient results in transmission of MRSA from a patient to the gloves of a healthcare worker. Different health professional groups have different rates of compliance with infection control procedures. Non-contact staff (cleaners, food services) had the shortest handwashing times. In this study, glove use compliance rates were 75% or above in all healthcare worker groups except doctors whose compliance was only 27%.