Journal of Pure and Applied MicrobiologyVol. 9 No. 3

Doctor’s Pen: Fomite for a Super Bug Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Niraj A. Ghanwate1, P.V. Thakare2, P.R. Bhise3 and Pradnya Pimparkar1

1Department of Microbiology, 2Department of Biotechnology, Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati, Maharashtra - 444602, India. 3Department of Microbiology, Dr. P D M Medical College, Amravati, Maharashtra - 444603, India.

Received on 06 April 2015 and accepted on 19 August 2015

 

ABSTRACT

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the major pathogen responsible for nosocomial and community acquired infection. High level of MRSA is present on everyday items in hospitals and can be transmitted by the hands of healthcare personnel, materials and articles used in hospitals. The present investigation aimed to determine the contamination of writing pen of doctors with MRSA in hospital environment and to assess the survival of MRSA on three kinds of new pens. Total 100 writing pens used by doctors during patient interaction were swabbed and inoculated on Blood agar. Staphylococcus aureus were identified by standard methods. After confirmation by coagulase test, S. aureus strains were tested for their methicillin resistance by agar screen method using Muller-Hinton agar containing 6 µg oxacillin/mL and 4% NaCl. To determine the survival of MRSA on pen, three kind of new pens like metal, plastic and pen with rubber grip were smeared with 0.5 McFarland culture of MRSA, incubated and survival was determined at every 3hrs interval. Out of 100 pens analyzed, 60 were found to be contaminated with different bacteria. Gram positive bacteria were isolated from 40 pens. Staphylococci were isolated from 29 pens of which 25 were coagulase positive and 4 were coagulase negative. Out of 25 coagulase positive staphylococci, 7 were resistant to oxacillin (MRSA). MRSA survived up to 48 h on pen with rubber grip, about 30 h on plastic pen and minimum survival i.e. 21 h on pen with metal surfaces. Thus pens can carry bacteria and are fomites.

Keywords : MRSA, nosocomial infections, fomites, doctor’s pen.