Background: Our goal was to enumerate the microbial flora on the headrest, armrest, and thoracic portion of chiropractic adjusting tables to determine the presence of pathogenic microorganisms and identify the potential for nosocomial transmission.
Methods: Defined portions of the headrest, armrest, and thoracoabdominal pieces from 9 chiropractic adjusting tables were randomly sampled using the ACT II culture transport system (Remel, Lenexa, KS). Samples were incubated using standard culture techniques for bacteriology and mycology that included 15 mL of heart infusion agar at 35 degrees C for 24 hours and 15 mL of Sabouraud dextrose agar at 30 degrees C up to 7 days.
Results: Identification of microorganisms by biochemical analysis yielded a wide variety of gram-positive (G+) and gram-negative (G-) cocci and bacilli as well as standard fungi. Many were of the genus Staphylococcus. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates were recovered from 2 separate tables.
Conclusion: This study supports a growing consensus that those outpatient facilities that do not adhere to strict infection control protocols may become ecological reservoirs of potentially harmful human pathogens.