Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Longitudinal environmental Staphylococcus contamination in a new small animal veterinary hospital and utility of cleaning checklists.

Abstract

Staphylococci are inhabitants of skin and mucous membranes with Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (SP) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA) serving as important pathogens for animals and people, respectively. Previous research has identified the environment as potentially important in hospital-associated infections and zoonotic transmission in veterinary settings. The objective of this pilot study was to determine the longitudinal prevalence over repeated samplings of environmental coagulase-positive Staphylococcus (CPS) in a new veterinary hospital and evaluate associations between contamination and environmental and clinical (caseload, cleaning checklists and staff numbers) factors. Cleaning and disinfection compliance, based on staff-completed checklists, were reviewed for the three shifts immediately prior to sampling. We hypothesized that over time, environmental contamination would increase as the clinic developed and caseload increased and compliance to cleaning checklists would decrease with increasing caseload. Over 18 months, 351 environmental samples were collected at five sampling times (sampling occurred before opening the hospital and every 3 to 6 months thereafter). Overall contamination with CPS was 30.8% (108/351), with SA (16.8%) and SP (13.1%) identified from the contaminated surfaces. Overall, methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA and MRSP) were infrequently recovered (combined n = 3; <1%). Point prevalence of CPS contamination was relatively stable over the study period (22.5%-28.4%), with the exception of an increase at the fourth sampling (52.9%). Cleaning compliance varied over the study period (57.9%-100%); the lowest reported cleaning coincided with the highest proportion of CPS contamination. The most commonly contaminated surfaces were chairs (7/15; 46.7%), examination tables (19/47; 40.4%) and computers (12/35; 34.3%); these items were infrequently included on cleaning lists. Surfaces not included in the checklist were 2.3 times more likely to be contaminated by CPS than those that were included (OR: 2.3, CI 95%: 1.02 -5.35, p-value=.04). MRSA and MRSP were rarely isolated from the environment in the newly opened hospital, indicating it may take time for resistant strains to enter the environment and persist on surfaces. This study identified the possible utility of cleaning checklists for directing cleaning practices and reducing the environmental contamination.