Contaminated Hospital Mattresses Act as Vector for Drug-Resistant Infections

Strategic Alliance Partners | <b>C Diff Foundation</b>

Edmond Hooker, MD, DrPH, discusses how contaminated hospital mattresses act as a vector for spreading drug-resistant infections.

Edmond Hooker, MD, DrPH, professor, Health Services Administration at Xavier University, and emergency physician at the University of Cincinnati, discusses how contaminated hospital mattresses act as a vector for spreading drug-resistant infections.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

“Mattresses have been linked to vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Candida auris, Clostridium difficile—you name it, they’ve been linked. Mattresses are causing all of these infections because we’re not cleaning them; these beds are not clean.

The mattresses are this soft surface and what we do is we pour chemicals on there that destroy them and give them all these micro-cracks and I can take a mattress after very few cleanings and put it under an electron microscope and I can show you the thing. It looks like the cracks on the moon; there are just cracks everywhere. And then, over time, those cracks get bigger and bigger and then by the time you can see it, guess what? You already have blood and garbage in there. But before you saw it, all the C. diff and the MRSA and the VRE, they can hide in there. You’re going across the top of it with a cleaning rag. Do you think you’re getting down in those cracks and cleaning? No.

And then the other problem is that over time these chemicals actually start soaking into the fabric more and more and more and that’s what destroys the fabric, but it also prevents them from working. If they’re soaked into the fabric, then they can’t kill the bacteria on the surface. And so, it’s a set up for failure."