Hand sanitizer dispensers and associated hospital-acquired infections: friend or fomite?
Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2012 Jun;13(3):137-40
Authors: Eiref SD, Leitman IM, Riley W
BACKGROUND: Waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an increasingly popular method of hand hygiene and help prevent hospital-acquired infection (HAI). Whether hand sanitizer dispensers (HSDs) may themselves harbor pathogens or act as fomites has not been reported.
METHODS: All HSDs in the surgical intensive care unit of an urban teaching hospital were cultured at three sites: The dispenser lever, the rear underside, and the area surrounding the dispensing nozzle.
RESULTS: All HSDs yielded one or more bacterial species, including commensal skin flora and enteric gram-negative bacilli. Colonization was greatest on the lever, where there is direct hand contact.
CONCLUSION: Hand sanitizer dispensers can become contaminated with pathogens that cause HAI and thus are potential fomites.
PMID: 22568918 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]