Colonization of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) Carried by Healthcare Professionals


Author address: 

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde park, NY.


Background: Nosocomial Infections (NI) are associated with serious morbidity and mortality. Stethoscopes, white coats and electronic thermometers have all been shown to harbor potentially pathogenic organisms and serve as possible vectors of infection transmission. Recently, healthcare professionals have used PDAs for patient management. Our study was conducted to assess PDA microbial colonization and efficacy of alcohol swab usage in reducing carriage. Methods: This prospective study was conducted in a 600 bed, acute care hospital. Healthcare workers who carry PDAs while providing direct patient care were asked to participate. Using a sterile swab, samples were taken from the PDA stylus, screen and edges before and after cleaning with a single 70% isopropyl alcohol swab. Samples were plated within 3 hours of collection on 5% sheep blood agar and incubated at 35 ºC for 24 hours. Colony forming units (CFU) and organism identification were determined using standard microbiologic techniques. Results: Samples were obtained from 75 PDAs. All participants had been using PDAs at least 3 months prior to the study. One subject cleaned the PDA daily whereas 94% never cleaned it. Prior to cleaning, 96% were culture positive. Eighty-five percent of PDA samples grew coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS). S. aureus was isolated in 10% of cases (75% were methicillin resistant). One PDA grew vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. Other genera isolated were Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Micrococcus, Aspergillus and Rhizopus. After cleaning, 75% of previously colonized PDAs were now culture-negative. Twenty-five per cent grew similar organisms, primarily CNS, but with a significant reduction in CFU. Overall PDA colonization with staphylococci was significantly reduced (p<.0001 conclusion:="" pdas="" carried="" by="" healthcare="" professionals="" can="" harbor="" pathogenic="" organisms="" that="" may="" contribute="" to="" ni.="" cleaned="" with="" a="" isopropyl="" alcohol="" swab="" demonstrated="" significant="" reduction="" in="" colonization="" staphylococci="" the="" most="" common="" organism="" isolated="" from="" pdas.initially="" modification="" of="" therapy="" was="" considered="" appropriate="" these="" courses="" drug="" or="" drugs="" were="" changed.="" mean="" time="" reporting="" positive="" urine="" sputum="" and="" blood="" cultures="" respectively.="" de-escalation="" occurred="" after="" results.="" total="" duration="" antimicrobial="" patients="" no="" laboratory="" clinical="" evidence="" infection="" when="" sufficient="" microbiologic="" data="" available="" make="" an="" change="" cases="" but="" not="" changed="" excess="" initial="" judged="" even="" results="" h.="" there="" only="" where="" unduly="" delayed="" modified="" cases.="" conclusions:="" timely="" has="" impact="" on="" quality="" icu="" eliminate="" unnecessarily="" prolonged="" up="" one-third="" efforts="" improve="" early="" studies="" putatively="" reduce="" resistance="" if="" clinicians="" are="" willing="" modify="" expeditiously="" as="" becomes="" available.="">

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

42nd Annual Meeting Infectious Diseases Society of America
    • Infectious Diseases Society of America 42nd