Exposure to potential pathogens on contaminated healthcare garments and curtains can occur through direct or indirect contact. This study aimed to identify the microorganisms present on podiatry clinic curtains and measure the contamination pre and post a standard hospital laundry process.Method Baseline swabs were taken to determine colony counts present on cubical curtains before laundering. Curtains were swabbed again immediately after, one and three weeks post laundering. Total colony counts were calculated and compared to baseline, with identification of micro-organisms.Results Total colony counts increased very slightly by 3% immediately after laundry, which was not statistically significant, and declined significantly (p = 0.0002) by 56% one-week post laundry. Three weeks post laundry colony counts had increased by 16%; although clinically relevant, this was not statistically significant. The two most frequent microorganisms present throughout were Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus and Micrococcus species. Laundering was not completely effective, as both species demonstrated no significant change following laundry.Conclusion This work suggests current laundry procedures may not be 100% effective in killing all microorganisms found on curtains, although a delayed decrease in total colony counts was evident. Cubicle curtains may act as a reservoir for microorganisms creating potential for cross contamination. This highlights the need for additional cleaning methods to decrease the risk of cross infection and the importance of maintaining good hand hygiene.
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Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.