Computer keyboards and the spread of MRSA

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  • immersion, making it difficult to tell the differencebetween the letters. However, this problem couldbe solved easily and keyboards are cheap. Whenthey are worn out, they could simply be replaced. Ihave not yet tried this on a cordless keyboard.


    1. Wilson APR, Hayman S, Folan P, et al. Computer keyboardsand the spread of MRSA. J Hosp Infect 2006;62:390e392.

    N. SimmonsE-mail address:

    Available online 10 July 2006

    2006 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by ElsevierLtd. All rights reserved.


    Virus diffusion in isolation rooms


    We note that Kao and Yangs numerical analysisconfirms the generally held opinion that isolation

    88 Letters to the Editor7. Golder M, Chan CL, OShea S, Corbett K, Chrystie IL, French G.Potential risk of cross-infection during peripheral-venousaccess by contamination of tourniquets. Lancet 2000;355:44.

    8. Barg NL. Environmental contamination with Staphlococcusaureus and outbreaks: the cause or the effect? Infect ControlHosp Epidemiol 1993;14:367e368.

    C. Fellowes*R. Kerstein

    J. ClarkB.S. Azadian

    Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UKE-mail address:

    Available online 7 July 2006

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: 44 208 846 7259; fax: 44 208846 7260.

    2006 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by ElsevierLtd. All rights reserved.


    Computer keyboards and the spread of MRSAMadam,

    Recent correspondence from Wilson et al. re-garding computer keyboards and their place inthe spread of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus has prompted me to write this letter.1

    About 1 year ago,mycomputer keyboard stoppedworking properly; the contacts inside were obvi-ously dirty. My information technology adviser toldme to put it through my dishwasher at home andallow it to dry out before reconnection. I did assuggested, and dried the keyboard out on top of theboiler. Afterwards, the keyboard worked perfectly.Furthermore, as the water had been close to 70 Cfor several minutes, most, if not all, of the vegeta-tive bacteria on the keys would have been killed.

    Keyboards are made of plastic, rubber and metalcontacts. Once they have been disconnected fromcomputers, they are not electrically charged. Con-sequently, they can then be immersed in hot waterand, if allowed to dry out thoroughly, can be usedagain. Could this not be used as a simple andeffective method of disinfection?

    The only problem I can see is that the labels onthe keys may be washed off with repeated

    rooms should be negatively pressurized, witha piston ventilation system that promotes horizon-tal air flow over the patient and away from anyhealthcare workers (HCWs) present in the room.1We also note, with interest, that by off-settingthe extract grilles behind the patient, it appearsto be possible to concentrate any infectious parti-cles produced to one side of the bed, thus leavingthe other side relatively free of contamination.This finding may be of some importance becauseit would enable a safe zone (or, perhaps morecorrectly, a safer zone) to be created close tothe patient. The creation of such a zone wouldbe a significant advance because it would enablenurses and doctors to attend to the patients needsin relative safety, provided that they stayed withinthis area. Perhaps the area of the safe zone couldbe marked out on the floor?

    In order to create a truly safe zone to the side ofthe patient, it would be necessary to ensure thatlarge respiratory droplets (>50 mm) are removed aswell as smaller droplet nuclei (