Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Antibacterial wipes can spread MRSA


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.


Readers' comments (3)

  • This seems beyond belief to me. Surely anyone with Nurse training behind them should be aware of the basic principles of infection control and not be using a wipe on more than one surface? I felt the same when I read a few years ago of a research project to observe if nurses in day-to-day practise were wiping their hands inadvertently on their uniforms (sorry, I can't recall the authors). Have standards fallen to this extent, that there is not the basic understanding of infection control theory there in the first place? What are they teaching them these days?

    One of the Old School.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello, I read this article with dismay. I am a student nurse and I would have thought it common sense to wipe only one surface before discarding the wipe. I cannot believe that researchers have found health care workers moving from one surface to the next with the same wipe. It is commonly known that we do not move from one patient to the next without using the alcohol gel at the very least. Discarding a wipe after use on a surface should come naturally to anyone working in a hospital environment.


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Watching the nursing staff in a Cornish hospitals casualty unit on a busy Saturday night I was eager to learn the cleaning routine they used!

    The nurse I watched wiped one or two surfaces with a wet wipe then placed it on the bed that she had just finished cleaning.......
    She then didn't finish wet wiping the bed she was working on but instead made it up with "Clean" linen - ready for the next person who was admitted.

    I do believe the staff were under" manned" and this certainly added to the confusion that night, possibly also to the lack of proper hygiene methods that were used.

    We left feeling very dirty after many hours when I was able to make long hard observations.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs