The role of patient care items as a fomite in healthcare-associated outbreaks and infection prevention

Hajime Kanamori, William A. Rutala, David J. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Patient-care items can serve as a source or reservoir for healthcare-associated pathogens in hospitals. We reviewed healthcare-associated outbreaks from medical equipment and provide infection prevention recommendations. Multiple healthcare-associated outbreaks via a contaminated patient-care item were identified, including infections with multidrug-resistant organisms. The type of patient care items implicated as a fomite causing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has changed over time. Patient populations at r isk were most commonly cr itically i ll patients in adult and neonatal intensive care units. Most fomite related healthcare-ass ociated outbreaks were due to inappropriate disinfection practices. Repeated healthcare-associated outbreaks via medical equipment highlight the need for infectious disease professionals to understand that fomites/medical devices may be a source of HAIs. The introduction of new and more complex medical devices will likely increase the risk that such devices serve as a source of HAIs. Assuring appropriate cleaning and disinfection or sterilization of medical equipment is necessary to prevent future fomite-associated outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Fomite
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Medical equipment
  • Outbreaks
  • Patient care items

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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