Scientific Journal Articles

Regular hospital curtains as a bacterial reservoir

“Participants hands were heavily contaminated at baseline, in some cases with potentially pathogenic species. Half of the participants (n=30 acquired bacteria on their fingertips from handling curtains, illustrating that privacy curtains may be involved in the transmission of infection to emergency department patients.”

Larocque et al. Acquisition of bacteria on health care workers’ hands after contact with patient privacy curtains. American Journal of Infection control July 2016


“In a culture survey (n=50), we found that 42% of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with a antibiotic‐resistant enterococci, 22% with methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and 4% with Clostridium difficile. Hand imprint cultures demonstrated that these pathogens were easily acquired on hands. Hospital curtains are a potential source for dissemination of healthcare-associated pathogens.”

Trillis III, E. C. Eckstein, R. Budavich, M. J. Pultz, and C. J. Donskey, “Contamination of hospital curtains with healthcare-associated pathogens,” Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, vol. 29, no. 11, pp. 1074–1076, 2008.


”From 32 curtains sampled, a total of 59 isolations were obtained, from those, 47 (79.6%) were considered potentially clinically relevant (Table 2), highlighting bacteria as Methicillin-resistant S. haemolyticus (MRSH), Methicillin-resistant S. cohnii (MRSC), MRSE, Methicillin‐resistant S. saprophyticus (MRSS), Moraxella sp., Acineto-bacter ursingii, AMP-C producer Pseudomonas oryzihabitans, Pantoea agglomerans, and Sphingomonas paucimobilis… There are significant opportunities to reduce patient exposure to frequently pathogenic bacteria in the hospital setting; patients are likely exposed to many bacteria through direct contact with white coats, curtains, and ties.”

Catano et al. 2012 Bacterial Contamination of Clothes and Environmental Items in a Third-­Level Hospital in Colombia. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases, vol 2012.


”Twelve of 13 curtains (92%) placed during the study showed contamination within 1 week. Forty‐one of 43 curtains (95%) demonstrated contamination on at least 1 occasion, including 21% with MRSA and 42% with VRE. Eight curtains yielded VRE at multiple time points: 3 with persistence of a single isolate type and 5 with different types, suggesting frequent recontamination. Privacy curtains are rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria.”

Ohl, M. Shweitzer, M. Graham, K. Heilmann, L. Boyken, D. Diekema. Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. American Journal of Infection Control 2012: 904‐6.


“Privacy curtain contamination on the burns/plastic surgery ward was determined for two separate occasions six months apart: 23 curtains on August 2015 and 26 curtains on January 2016… Curtain contamination in August 2015 was 0.7–4.7 cfu/cm2 with 22% testing positive for MRSA, whereas contamination on January 2016 was 0.6–13.3 cfu/cm2 with 31% of curtains testing positive for MRSA. Curtains on the burns/plastic surgery ward become colonized with significant quantities of bacteria.”

K. Shek, R. Patidar, Z. Kohja, S. Liu, J.P. Gawaziuk, M. Gawthrop, A. Kumar, S. Logsetty. Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains on a burns and plastic surgery ward: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Hospital Infection 2017 Volume 96, Issue 1, Pages 54–58


”Environmental screening revealed the presence of the multiple-resistant Acinetobacter species on fomite surfaces in the intensive care unit and bed linen. The major source appeared to be the curtains surrounding patients’ beds. Typing by pulsed field gel electrophoresis demonstrated that the patients’ isolates and those from the environment were indistinguishable… This outbreak also highlights environmental sources, particularly dry fabrics such as curtains, as an important reservoir for dissemination of acinetobacters.”

Das, P. Lambert, D. Hill, M. Noy, J. Bion, and T. Elliott, “Carbapenem‐resistant Acinetobacter and role of curtains in an outbreak in intensive care units,” Journal of Hospital Infection, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 110–114, 2002.


“The purpose of this study was to determine the survival of 22 gram-positive bacteria (vancomysin-sensitive and -resistant enterococci and methicillin-sensitive and -resistant staphylococci) on five common hospital materials: smooth 100% cotton (clothing), 100% cotton terry (towels), 60% cotton–40% polyester blend (scrub suits and lab coats), 100% polyester (privacy drapes), and 100% polypropylene plastic (splash aprons)… All isolates survived for at least 1 day, and some survived for more than 90 days on the various materials… The long survival of these bacteria, including MRSA and VRE, on commonly used hospital fabrics, such as scrub suits, lab coats, and hospital privacy drapes, underscores the need for meticulous contact control procedures and careful disinfection to limit the spread of these bacteria.”

Neely AN, Maley MP. Survival of enterococci and staphylococci on hospital fabrics and plastic. J Clin Microbiol 2000; 38: 724–726

Silver-based Solution being Effective against Pathogens

“Bacteria were exposed to the silver ion solution for various lengths of time, and the antibacterial effect of the solution was tested… Reductions of more than 5 log10 CFU/ml of both S. aureus and E. coli bacteria were confirmed after 90 min of treatment with the silver ion solution. Significant reduction of S. aureus and E. coli cells was also observed by FC analysis… In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest that silver ions may cause S. aureus and E. coli bacteria to reach an ABNC state and eventually die.”

Woo Kyung Jung, Hye Cheong Koo, Ki Woo Kim, Sook Shin, So Hyun Kim and Yong Ho Park.  Antibacterial Activity and Mechanism of Action of the Silver Ion in Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2008 vol. 74 no. 7 2171-2178.


“A declining pipeline of clinically useful antibiotics has made it imperative to develop more effective antimicrobial therapies, particularly against difficult-to-treat Gram-negative pathogens. Silver has been used as an antimicrobial since antiquity, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. We show that silver disrupts multiple bacterial cellular processes, including disulfide bond formation, metabolism, and iron homeostasis. These changes lead to increased production of reactive oxygen species and increased membrane permeability of Gram-negative bacteria that can potentiate the activity of a broad range of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria in different metabolic states, as well as restore antibiotic susceptibility to a resistant bacterial strain… This work shows that silver can be used to enhance the action of existing antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria, thus strengthening the antibiotic arsenal for fighting bacterial infections.”

Jose Ruben Morones-Ramirez, Jonathan A. Winkler, Catherine S. Spina and James J. Collins. Silver Enhances Antibiotic Activity Against Gram-Negative Bacteria. Sci Transl Med June 2013 5:190 190ra81


“The resulting silver sulfadiazine–immobilized celluloses provided a 6-log reduction of 108 CFU mL−1 of Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive bacteria), Escherichia coli (Gram-negative bacteria), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (drug-resistant bacteria), vancomysin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (drug-resistant bacteria), and Candida albicans (fungi) in 30–60 minutes, and a 5-log reduction of 107 PFU mL−1 of MS2 virus in 120 minutes. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities were both durable and rechargeable. Additionally, trypan blue assay suggested that the new silver sulfadiazine–immobilized celluloses sustained excellent mammal cell viability, pointing to great potentials of the new materials for a broad range of health care–related applications.”

Zhengbing Cao, Xinbo Sun, Jinrong Yao, Yuyu Sun. Silver sulfadiazine-immobilized celluloses as biocompatible polymeric biocides. Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers July 2013 28:4 398-410


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