It’s not in your head … Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

This makes us even less likely to use a public keyboard….

The role of computer keyboards used by students of a metropolitan university as reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant staphylococci was determined. Putative methicillin (oxacillin)-resistant staphylococci isolates were identified from keyboard swabs following a combination of biochemical and genetic analyses. Of 24 keyboards surveyed, 17 were contaminated with staphylococci that grew in the presence of oxacillin (2 mg l-1). Methicillin (oxacillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), -S. epidermidis (MRSE) and -S. hominis (MRSH) were present on two, five and two keyboards, respectively, while all three staphylococci co-contaminated one keyboard. Furthermore, these were found to be part of a greater community of oxacillin-resistant bacteria. Combined with the broad user base common to public computers, the presence of antibiotic-resistant staphylococci on keyboard surfaces might impact the transmission and prevalence of pathogens throughout the community.

Public computer surfaces are reservoirs for methicillin-resistant staphylococci,” by Issmat I Kassem, Von Sigler and Malak A Esseili, Laboratory for Microbial Ecology, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, May 31, 2007
Hat tip Marginal Revolution

The cleanest person can get a staph infection. Staph can rub off the skin of an infected person and onto the skin of another person when they have prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Staph from an infected person can also get onto a commonly shared item or surface, and then get onto the skin of the person who touches it next. Examples of commonly shared items are towels, benches in saunas or hot tubs, and athletic equipment – in other words, anything that could have touched the skin of a staph infected person can carry the bacteria to the skin of another person.
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[To prevent infection, clean] your hands and skin often. Avoid prolonged skin-to-skin contact with anyone you suspect could have a staph skin infection. Do not share personal items (e.g. razors, towels, etc.) with other persons and keep your towels and clothes clean. Clean items that you share with other people (e.g. towels, razors, athletic equipment) before you use them.

MRSA: Antibiotic-resistant ‘Staph’ Skin Infections,” from the Minnesota Department of Health

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