TABLE 1.

Contamination rates of health care workers' hands with nosocomial pathogens and their persistence on hands and inanimate surfacesa

PathogenContamination rate(s) of health care workers' hands (%) (references)Duration of persistence on hands (references)Duration of persistence on inanimate surfaces (references)
Acinetobacter spp.3-15 (132, 335, 519)≥150 min (33)3 days-5 mo (166, 233, 387, 393, 596, 598)
B. cereus 37 (569)UnknownUnknown
C. difficile 14-59 (362, 491)Unknown≥24 h (vegetative cells), up to 5 mo (spores) (363)
E. coli Unknown6-90 min (33, 151)2 h-16 mo (3, 111, 190, 350, 376, 393, 509)
“Gram-negative bacteria”21-86.1 (4, 7, 166, 187, 271, 302, 378)UnknownUnknown
Influenzavirus, parainfluenzavirusUnknown10-15 min (25, 46)12-48 h (46, 72, 433, 614)
HAVUnknownSeveral hours (354, 355)2 h-60 days (1, 2, 356)
HCV8-23.8 (11)UnknownUnknown
Klebsiella spp.17 (81)Up to 2 h (33, 81, 151, 514)2 h-30 mo (111, 190, 376, 393, 509)
MRSAUp to 16.9 (378, 412, 542)Unknown4 wk-7 mo (114, 581)
P. vulgaris Unknown≥30 min (33)1-2 days (376)
Pseudomonas spp.1.3-25 (53, 119, 144, 420, 607)30-180 min (33, 119)6 h-16 mo (111, 178, 190, 393, 509)
RhinovirusUp to 65 (191, 457)Unknown2 h-7 days (456, 497)
Rotavirus19.5-78.6 (490)Up to 260 min (22)6-60 days (1, 2, 24)
Salmonella spp.Unknown≤3 h (427)6 h-4.2 yr (209, 376, 467)
S. marcescens 15.4-24 (90, 492)≥30 min (33)3 days-2 mo (111, 376)
S. aureus 10.5-78.3 (90, 101, 179, 359, 378, 412, 546)≥150 min (33)4 wk-7 mo (190, 394, 509, 581, 582)
VREUp to 41 (202)Up to 60 min (402)5 days-4 mo (39, 393, 394, 402, 599)
“Yeasts,” including Candida spp. and Torulopsis glabrata23-81 (90, 112, 221, 378, 541)1 h (79, 564)1-150 days (65, 452, 564)
  • a Persistance of nosocomial pathogens on inanimate surfaces is important because of the high rate of acquisition of these pathogens on the hands after contact with environmental surfaces (58).