Only Some ER Keyboards Really Germy

PHOENIX, June 7 (UPI) — Some hospital emergency room keyboards were more likely than others to be contaminated with bacteria, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Henry Ford Hospitals in Detroit found computer keyboards in triage and registration areas more likely to be contaminated than keyboards in other areas of the emergency department.

“Contamination was predominantly found in non-treatment areas,” study lead author Dr. Angela Pugliese said in a statement. “This suggests that only areas without true patient contact, and likely less frequent hand washing, might benefit from using washable silicone rubber or antibacterial keyboards instead of a standard keyboard.”

Pugliese and colleagues cultured and analyzed swabs for 72 emergency department keyboards. All keyboard keys — except for function keys — were swabbed on two different days, six days apart.

Less than 14 percent of the keyboards were colonized with nine different bacteria. Of the keyboards in non-treatment areas, nearly 32 percent were contaminated, vs. less than 9 percent in treatment areas.

Pugliese presented the study findings at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s annual meeting in Phoenix.

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