Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control (2021-01-01)

Bacterial but no SARS-CoV-2 contamination after terminal disinfection of tertiary care intensive care units treating COVID-19 patients

  • Daniel A. Hofmaenner,
  • Pedro David Wendel Garcia,
  • Branko Duvnjak,
  • Bhavya Chakrakodi,
  • Julian D. Maier,
  • Michael Huber,
  • Jon Huder,
  • Aline Wolfensberger,
  • Peter W. Schreiber,
  • Reto A. Schuepbach,
  • Annelies S. Zinkernagel,
  • Philipp K. Buehler,
  • Silvio D. Brugger,
  • for the COVID-19 ICU-Research Group Zurich

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 1
pp. 1 – 7


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Abstract Background In intensive care units (ICUs) treating patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) invasive ventilation poses a high risk for aerosol and droplet formation. Surface contamination of severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or bacteria can result in nosocomial transmission. Methods Two tertiary care COVID-19 intensive care units treating 53 patients for 870 patient days were sampled after terminal cleaning and preparation for regular use to treat non-COVID-19 patients. Results A total of 176 swabs were sampled of defined locations covering both ICUs. No SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid (RNA) was detected. Gram-negative bacterial contamination was mainly linked to sinks and siphons. Skin flora was isolated from most swabbed areas and Enterococcus faecium was detected on two keyboards. Conclusions After basic cleaning with standard disinfection measures no remaining SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected. Bacterial contamination was low and mainly localised in sinks and siphons.