When a hospital patient checks out of a room, cleaning staff swoop in, disinfecting every item and surface to prevent the spread of infection.

The TV remote, bed frame, call button cord, trash can lid, closet handles, door knobs — nothing can be missed. Bed linens and privacy curtains are removed and double-bagged for laundering. Blinds and curtain rails are wiped down.

Still, dangerous infections spread.

If the previous occupant was infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for example, the incoming patient has a 40% elevated risk of contracting the same infection — even when a hospital’s cleaning protocol exceeds infection-control standards.

 

Credit: iStock, Paolo_Toffanin

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