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Dynamic Transmission of Staphylococcus Aureus in the Intensive Care Unit

Adams, Claire E.; Dancer, Stephanie J.


Claire E. Adams


Staphylococcus aureus is an important bacterial pathogen. This study utilized known staphylococcal epidemiology to track S. aureus between patients, surfaces, staff hands and air in a ten-bed intensive care unit (ICU). Methods: Patients, air and surfaces were screened for total colony counts and S. aureus using dipslides, settle plates and an MAS-100 slit-sampler once a month for 10 months. Data were modelled against proposed standards for air and surfaces, and ICU-acquired staphylococcal infection. Whole-cell genomic typing (WGS) demonstrated possible transmission pathways between reservoirs. Results: Frequently touched sites were more likely to be contaminated (>12 cfu/cm2; p = 0.08). Overall, 235 of 500 (47%) sites failed the surface standard (≤2.5 cfu/cm2); 20 of 40 (50%) passive air samples failed the “Index of Microbial Air” standard (2 cfu/9 cm plate/h), and 15/40 (37.5%) air samples failed the air standard (

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2020
Publication Date Mar 22, 2020
Deposit Date May 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2020
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 6
Article Number 2109
Keywords Staphylococcus aureus; critical care; transmission; hand-touch site; ventilation
Public URL


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