Nosocomial infections in the ICU: Pens and spectacles as fomites

Haris Farooq Murad, Khowaja Mohammad Inam Pal

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Nosocomial infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Non-medical objects known as fomites may have a role in their genesis. We investigated the significance of writing pens and spectacles as fomites. The study was conducted at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from July 2013 to September 2013. Cultures were taken from pens and/or spectacles of resident nurses, doctors and nursing assistants in intensive care unit (ICU). Organisms important in ICU nosocomial infections were targeted. Seven rounds of sampling over 3 weeks led to 55 pen and 5 spectacle samples. Growth was seen in 3(5.5%) pen samples and 1(20%) spectacle sample. Two (3.6%) pen cultures grew acinetobacter, 1)1.8%) grew candida and acinetobacter, and i spectacle culture grew vancomycin-resistant enterococcus faecium (VRE). Two out of the 4 (50%) personnel managing all ICU beds had growth. During the study, one or more ICU patients had infection with the same organisms. Pens and spectacles may be responsible for the spread of organisms like acinetobacter and VRE. Personnel managing multiple beds are more likely to carry contaminated fomites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S53-S55
JournalJPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Volume66 3)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Fomites, Nosocomial infections, Acinetobacter, Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus..


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