Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) have emerged as important nosocomial pathogens in hospitals throughout the United States. An increasing concern with respect to VRE dissemination is survival on, and potential transmission from, environmental surfaces within health care institutions. Therefore, we assessed survival of VRE on fabric chairs in an attempt to determine the optimal upholstery for the health care setting. VRE was identified on 3 of 10 seat cushions sampled, including 2 chairs in a room of a patient with known VRE. After performing simulated contamination experiments, all samples were positive at 72 hours and 1 week after inoculation. Contamination of the upholstery could be prevented by placing a sheet folded 4 times or a bath blanket folded in half on the seat cushion. In conclusion, VRE are capable of prolonged survival on fabric seat cushions and can be transferred to hands. Environmental surfaces such as chairs may serve as a potential reservoir for nosocomial transmission of VRE, and an easily cleanable, nonporous material is the preferred upholstery in hospitals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases