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Do wheelchairs spread pathogenic bacteria within hospital walls?


Transmission of nosocomial pathogens has been linked to transient colonization of health care workers, medical devices and other constituents of patients’ environment. In this paper we present our findings concerning the presence of pathogenic bacteria on wheelchairs, and the possibility that wheelchairs constitute a reservoir of these bacteria and a means of spreading them. In this work we examined four wheelchairs, each from a different location: the internal medicine ward, the emergency department, the general surgery ward and wheelchair stockpile of the transportation unit of the hospital. The samples were collected and cultured on different media. Bacterial identification and antimicrobial sensitivity testing were carried out using accepted practices in the microbiology laboratory. We found that wheelchairs are contaminated with several pathogenic bacteria, among them antibiotic-resistant strains such as MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumanni etc. Since there is no specific guideline protocol that deals with disinfection and cleaning frequency of wheelchairs in hospitals, we suggest each hospital to write one.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declared there are no conflicts of interests.

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Correspondence to Avi Peretz.

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Peretz, A., Koiefman, A., Dinisman, E. et al. Do wheelchairs spread pathogenic bacteria within hospital walls?. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 30, 385–387 (2014).

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  • Wheelchairs
  • Nosocomial infection
  • Pathogenic bacteria
  • Infection control