U-M Study Finds Hospital Privacy Curtains Contaminated By MRSA

hospital curtains

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) - Next time you touch a patient privacy curtain at a hospital or other healthcare setting, you will want to wash your hands.

According to a study from the University of Michigan, because these curtains are high-touch surfaces, and are cleaned infrequently, they can become a breeding ground for potentially deadly multi drug-resistant organisms, known as "superbugs" -- including MRSA.

For the study, researchers tested privacy curtains at six skilled nursing facilities in southeast Michigan where patients stayed for an average of 22 days.

"We collected 1,521 samples from 625 unique patients, and between 18 to 28 percent of the time these curtains were contaminated with a drug resistant organism," said researcher Dr. Lona Mody.

Nearly 20,000 MRSA-related deaths occurred in the US in 2017, most of them from hospital-acquired infections, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

Mody told WWJ's Dr. Deanna Lites she hope this study leads to new designs in privacy curtains and also encourages healthcare workers, patients and visitors to take precautions, and wash their hands often.