Introduction. Direct contact is undoubtedly the main means of transmission of hospital infections. An investigative study was therefore conducted to assess workplace surfaces at risk from microbial contamination.
Methods. The study was conducted using swabs and contact slides placed on the palms of healthcare workers during their routine patient care and on workplace surfaces (e.g. telephones, computers, medication trolleys, taps) in treatment rooms, oper- ating theatres and wards. Disposable swabs were used for rapid screening and read with a bioluminometer. At the same time, a sample was taken from those testing positive using a contact slide. The samples testing positive for Staphylococci underwent identification to assess resistance to meticillin-resistant Sta- phylococcus aureus (MRS/MRSA) and to vancomycin (VISA/ VRSA)
Results. Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus strains were found on 14.7% (20/136) of samples taken from the hands of workers and 35.7% (15/42) of those from hospital surfaces. An even higher resistance to meticillin and/or vancomycin than that found for S. aureus was identified in nosocomial strains of coagulase negative staphylococci, including S. epidermidis and S. haemolyticus. Conclusion. The study concludes that there is thus a need for greater care in complying with procedures designed and support for surveillance to reduce the risk of infection.