Hospital elevators are hotbeds for far more cooties than toilet seats, according to Canadian researchers at the University of Toronto. They found that bacteria typically thrive on elevator buttons, although few of them were considered clinically dangerous. Their study was published in Open Medicine.
Researchers report they swabbed 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces at different times at three teaching hospitals in Toronto, Ontario. They swabbed buttons on the elevators, as well as bathroom doors, the privacy latches and the toilet flush handle.
They reported that 61% of the elevator buttons bore pathogens, and that neither the location of the buttons; the days of the week nor the position on the panels, seemed to matter.
The most common organism cultured was c-negative staphylococci. Enterococcus and Pseudomonas were found but were less common.
Toilet surfaces bore serious bacteria 43% of the time.
Incidentally, elevators are not the only bacteria breeding ground. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology recommends appropriete dress codes in order to reduce the spread of infections like C. diff and MRSA. Physicians should avoid wearing long sleeves, wristwatches, neckties and jewelry, and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes, they say. Physicians should wash their lab coats far more often, too.
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