Fomite-fingerpad transfer efficiency (pick-up and deposit) of Acinetobacter baumannii-with and without a latex glove

Am J Infect Control. 2015 Sep 1;43(9):928-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.05.008. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Background: Acinetobacter baumannii is a significant health care-associated pathogen because it is easily transmitted via fomites, extremely difficult to eradicate from the environment, and highly drug resistant. Understanding the environmentally mediated transmission dynamics of A baumannii is critical for more effective infection control. However, transfer efficiency of pathogen pick-up and deposit remains poorly understood. Our study estimates the transfer efficiency of A baumannii with and without latex glove use from the fingerpad to a fomite and from a fomite to the fingerpad.

Methods: Fomite-fingerpad transfer efficiencies were determined for 6 materials (glass, stainless steel, porcelain, polypropylene, polycarbonate, and rubber).

Results: For A baumannii, the fomite-to-fingerpad transfer efficiency was 24.1%, and the fingerpad-to-fomite transfer efficiency was 5.6%. When latex gloves were worn, the fomite-to-fingerpad transfer efficiency was reduced by 55.9% (to 10.6%) and the fingerpad-to-fomite transfer efficiency was reduced by 47.1% (to 3.0%). The average transfer efficiency between 2 skin surfaces was 32.5%.

Conclusions: The fomite-to-fingerpad transfer efficiency of A baumannii was statistically significantly higher than the fingerpad-to-fomite transfer efficiency, regardless of glove use. There was no significant difference in transfer efficiency by material type, except for rubber, which resulted in marginally higher transfer efficiencies. Our results underscore the importance of frequently changing gloves during patient care and frequent handwashing-hand hygiene during bare-handed care for the reduction of pathogen transmission.

Keywords: Acinetobacter baumannii; Environment; Fomite; Hospital; Latex glove; Transfer efficiency; Transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Acinetobacter Infections / prevention & control*
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / isolation & purification*
  • Ceramics
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Environment
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Fomites / microbiology*
  • Glass
  • Gloves, Protective / microbiology
  • Hand Hygiene*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Latex
  • Polymers
  • Polypropylenes
  • Rubber
  • Stainless Steel


  • Latex
  • Polymers
  • Polypropylenes
  • Stainless Steel
  • lexan
  • Rubber