The aim of this study was to use published data to assess the importance of the hospital environment as a possible secondary reservoir of multi-resistant bacteria capable of colonizing or infecting patients. This should make it possible to develop appropriate measures for preventing cross contamination in medical environments. Multi-resistant bacteria often contaminate the environment of the colonized or infected patients, and survive for long periods. However, measures proposed to reduce contamination and reduce the potential for cross infection such as disinfection when the patient is discharged, the use of materials with intrinsic antibacterial activity and the wearing of gloves by everyone entering the room whether or not they intend to actually touch the patient, have yet to be evaluated as part of an overall strategy to prevent infection with multi-resistant bacteria.
Copyright 1999 The Hospital Infection Society.