Journal articles

Studies have proven that linens are capable of harboring infectious pathogens

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Contamination of Healthcare Workers’ Uniforms in Long-Term Care Facilities 

Gaspard (2009)

Findings: HCW uniforms in LTCF found to be highly contaminated with MRSA. “This contamination can function as a reservoir, since pockets and their contents can contaminate carriers’ hands. Similarly, clothing can act as a vector …”

Citation: Journal of Hospital Infection 71: 170-175

Environmental Reservoirs of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in Isolation Rooms: Correlation with Patient Isolates and Implications for Hospital Hygiene

Sexton (2006)

Findings: Over half of the surface samples taken from the beds and the mattresses were positive for MRSA” in a study evaluating the contamination of isolation rooms.

Citation: Journal of Hospital Infection 62: 187-194

Environmental Reservoirs of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in Isolation Rooms: Correlation with Patient Isolates and Implications for Hospital Hygiene

Treakle (2009)

Findings: Laundering procedures for white coats varied widely. Of those tested, 23% were positive for S aureus (18% of those MRSA). “White coats may be an important vector for patient-to-patient transmission of Saureus.”

Citation: Am I Infect Control 37 (2): 101 -105

Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic

Neely (2000)

Findings: All MRSA/VRE isolates survived 1 day (some >90days) on scrub suits, lab coats, and privacy drapes. “Viability of enterococci on fabrics tended to be longer than their reported survival on other hospital surfaces.”

Citation: Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp 724-726

The Contribution of Beds to Healthcare-Associated Infection: The Importance of Adequate Decontamination

Creamer (2008)

Findings: Bed linens and pillow cases as source for MRSA, VRE, Pseudomonas and other pathogens. “Often only the bedrail has been sampled during investigation of outbreaks, rather than more important potential reservoirs of infection, such as mattresses and pillows, which are in direct contact with patients”.

Citation: Journal of Hospital Infection 69, pp 8-23

Hospital Privacy Curtains are Frequently and Rapidly Contaminated with Potentially Pathogenic Bacteria

Ohl (2012)

Findings: Hospital privacy curtain are rapidly contaminated with a wide variety of pathogens. “92% (of curtains) placed during the study showed contamination within 1 week.”

Citation: American Journal of Infection Control xxx (2012) 1-3

Contamination of Hospital Curtains With Healthcare‐Associated Pathogens

Trillis (2008)

Findings: Privacy curtains are often contaminated with pathogens and “our data suggest that hospital curtains have the potential to contribute to contamination of HCWs’ hands, the major source of transmission of nosocomial pathogens.”

Citation: Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology Vol. 29, No. 11 pp. 1074-1076

Nursing and Physician Attire as Possible Source of Nosocomial Infections

Wiener-Well (2011)

Findings: Up to 60% of hospital staff uniforms colonized with potentially harmful bacteria

Citation: American Journal of Infection Control Vol. 39, No. 7, pp 555-559

Contamination of Hospital Linen by Bacillus cereus

Barrier (1994)

Findings: Hospital linen heavily contaminated by B. Cereus

Citation: Epidemiology. Infection. 113, 297-306

Environmental Contamination Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus: Possible Infection Control Implications

Boyce (1997)

Findings: Assessment of environmental contamination in endemic cases of MRSA showed that over 50% of samples taken from bed linens and patient gowns were contaminated. “Personnel may contaminate their gloves (or possibly their hands) by touching such surfaces suggests that contaminated environmental surfaces may serve as a reservoir of MRSA in hospitals”.

Citation: Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology Vol. 18, No. 9: 622-627

Recently laundered textiles have also been shown to carry microbial pathogens

Nursing and Physician Attire as Possible Source of Nosocomial Infections

Wiener-Well (2011)

Findings: Up to 60% of white coats and scrubs were colonized with potentially harmful bacteria. “the staff’s perception of their attire’s cleanliness did not correlate with isolation of pathogenic bacteria.”

Citation: American Journal of Infection Control Vol. 39, No. 7, pp 555-559

Microbiological Contamination of Bed Linen and Staff Uniforms in a Hospital

Pinon (2013)

Findings: 55% of clean linen was contaminated prior to patient contact. “Actively antimicrobial textiles would represent a valuable measure to prevent textiles from being a vehicle for transfer of microorganisms. “

Citation: Advances in Micro-Biology,2013, 3, 515-519

Microbial Contamination of Hospital Reusable Cleaning Towels

Sifuentes (2013)

Findings: Hospital laundering is inconsistent and may be insufficient to remove microbial contaminants. “ . . almost all (93%) sampled cleaning towels contained viable microorganisms even after laundering.” Organisms included P luteola and Klebsiella.

Citation: American Journal of Infection Control 41: 912-915

Bacterial Contamination of Uniforms

Perry (2001)

Findings: 39% of nurse’s freshly laundered uniforms were positive for pathogens including S. Aureus, C. difficile and VRE. “With the possibility of cross-contamination to patients from staff uniforms, it is essential for clothing worn by healthcare workers to be adequately decontaminated”.

Citation: Journal of Hospital Infection 48: 238-241

Studies have clarified the potential for textiles to contribute to the spread of pathogens and infection

Bacillus Cereus Bacteremia Outbreak Due to Contaminated Hospital Linens

Sasahara (2010)

Findings: B. Cereus led to an outbreak of intravenous catheter infections. “ . . . our findings demonstrated that B. cereus contamination of hospital linens can cause nosocomial bacteremia.”

Citation: Eur J Clin Microbial Infect Dis (2011) 30: 219–226

Mucormycosis Outbreak Associated with Hospital Linens

Duffy (2014)

Findings: Investigation of a fatal outbreak of mucormycosis. The results confirmed that “ . . . linens were the vehicle transmitting Rhizopus”.

Citation: Pediatr Infect Dis J 33: 472–476

Significance of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Survey in a University Teaching Hospital

Osawa (2003)

Findings: Probability of MRSA outbreak linked to staff white coats. ”This suggested a high probability of cross-infection between the patients and the hospital staff in the ward. . . doctors and nurses should be cautious that their coats might be contaminated with the prevailing strains of MRSA.”

Citation: J. Infect Chemother 9: 172-177

Significance of Airborne Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in an Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Unit

Shiomori (2001)

Findings: Changing bed sheets increases the level of airborne contaminants including MRSA. “During this test period, there were approximately 50 times the number of CFU as during the resting period.”

Citation: Arch Otolavyngol Head Neck Sorg. 127: 644-648

Evaluation of Bed making-related Airborne and Surface Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Contamination

Shiomoni (2002)

Findings: Respirable-sized aerosols of MRSA can be spread during bed making which “ . . . may play a role in MRSA colonization in the nasal cavity, or sequentially, in respiratory MRSA infections.”

Citation: J Hosp Infect 50: 30 -35

Lesser-known or Hidden Reservoirs of Infection and Implications for Adequate Prevention Strategies: Where to Look and What to Look For

Bloomfield (2015)

Findings: Soft surfaces such as privacy curtains and pillows are among the “lesser known and underestimated reservoirs for microorganisms which are the triggering sources and vehicles for outbreaks or sporadic cases of infection.”

Citation: GMS Hygiene and Control, 10: Doc 4