“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 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