Background: The contaminated healthcare environment, including operating rooms (ORs), can serve as an important role in transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. Studies are very limited regarding the level of contamination of ORs during the surgery of a patient on contact precautions and the risk to the next surgery patient after standard room cleaning and disinfection. Objective: Here, we investigated the microbial burden on the OR environment when patients on contact precautions receive surgery, and we assessed the impact of cleaning and disinfection on the contamination of OR environmental sites. Methods: This investigation was conducted in the ORs of an academic facility during an 8-month period. It involved 10 patients on contact precautions for multidrug-resistant pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA; n = 7); carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) plus MRSA (n = 2); and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) plus MRSA (n = 1), who underwent surgery. Environmental sampling was performed at the following time points: (1) immediately before the surgical patient’s arrival in the OR, (2) after surgery but before the OR cleaning and disinfection, and (3) after the OR cleaning and disinfection. In total, 1,520 environmental samples collected from 15 OR sites for 10 surgical patients at 3 time points were analyzed. Relatedness among environmental MRSA isolates was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Results: Overall, the mean CFUs of aerobes per Rodac plate (CFU/25 cm2) were 10.1 before patient arrival, 14.7 before cleaning and disinfection, and 6.3 after cleaning and disinfection (P < .0001, after cleaning and disinfection vs before cleaning and disinfection). Moreover, 7 environmental sites (46.7%) after cleaning and disinfection, including bed, arm rest, pyxis counter, floor (near, door side), floor (far, by door), steel counter (small, near bed), and small computer desk, had significantly lower mean counts of aerobes than before patient arrival or before cleaning and disinfection (Fig. 1). The mean CFUs of MRSA per Rodac plate (CFU/25 cm2) were 0.04 before patient arrival, 0.66 before cleaning and disinfection, and 0.08 after cleaning and disinfection (P = .0006, after cleaning and disinfection vs before cleaning and disinfection). Of environmental sites where MRSA was identified, 87.2% were on floors (41 of 47) and 19.1% were after cleaning and disinfection (9 of 47, 8 from floors and 1 from pyxis touchscreen). The A2/B2 MRSA strain was identified on different environmental sites (eg, floor, computer desk, counter) in various rooms (eg, OR2, OR10, and OR16), even after cleaning and disinfection (Fig. 2). Conclusions: Our study has demonstrated that the OR environment was contaminated with aerobic bacteria and MRSA after surgery and that MRSA persisted in the environment even after cleaning and disinfection. Enhanced environmental cleaning in the perioperative environment used for patients on isolation is necessary to prevent transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens in ORs.
Disclosures: Drs. Rutala and Weber are consultants to PDI (Professional Disposable International)