A new study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal shows that the much-talked-about threat of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, isn't just found inside hospitals. The research shows the threat exists for patients before they even get to a hospital bed, with the potentially deadly bacteria showing up on oxygen tanks in ambulances, ambulance floors and even on ambulance door handles.
The study's primary goal was to see if MRSA is present in the prehospital setting, specifically on the surface of oxygen cylinders and regulators used in ambulances, and to assess other areas as well. The results indicate that in fact, oxygen cylinders can harbor MRSA, increasing the risk of passing it on to vulnerable patients. The results also support the need to develop "universal disinfection protocols" for such equipment and areas so as to cut down on the risk of infecting patients.