Some types of antibacterial wipes used to decontaminate surfaces in hospitals could be helping to spread MRSA, suggests a UK study.
Researchers from the Welsh School of Pharmacy observed hospital staff using antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove bacteria from surfaces such as bed rails, monitors, tables and key pads.
They said staff used the wipes to decontaminate a number of different surfaces before discarding them.
When tested, the researchers found that the wipes were not actually able to kill the bacteria and if reused would contaminate any surface they touched.
Gareth Williams, microbiologist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, said: ‘Wipes can be effective in removing, killing and preventing the transfer of pathogens such as MRSA but only if used in the right way.
‘We found the most effective way to prevent the risk of MRSA spread in hospital wards is to ensure the wipe is used only once on one surface.’
He added that routine observation and proper training in the use of wipes would help reduce the risk of infection to patients.
The study results were presented yesterday at the annual general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston, US.