The dangers of MRSA in your ambulances

Do you wash your hands before and after every patient contact? How about the ambulance cot? Are all surfaces of the cot disinfected equally? Does your disinfection include the side rails, straps, and buckles? When was the last time you cleaned the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope that hang in the patient care compartment? How about the provider bench and other working surfaces in the ambulance compartment?

A recent research study published in the Prehospital Emergency Care journal assessed for the presence of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in an ambulance fleet of 21 vehicles. MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics such as methicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin, which are commonly used to treat bacterial infections.

The research found MRSA contamination in 10 of 21 ambulances. Some of the areas that tested positive for MRSA growth were the steering wheel, left patient stretcher handrail, patient stretcher cushion, work area to the right of the patient, and the yankauer suction tip.

The authors concluded, The ambulance environment may be significantly contaminated with MRSA and that the EMS system could represent an important reservoir in the transmission of MRSA to patients. As a provider you are at risk of becoming a MRSA carrier and bringing MRSA home to your family.

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Epijunky said...

THAT is why I'm so freaking anal about keeping the squad clean.


loria said...

I understand where you are coming from. I am a CNA and encounter MRSA all the time. Half the time we don't even know the patient has it until they have been there for several days.