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Where They Found MRSA

MRSA Is Everywhere and It Loves Firefighters and EMS Workers. MRSA Loves Firefighters, EMS Workers and Fire Houses.

Believe it or not MRSA was found on the brake pedal of a firetruck and ambulance. One test found it on the steering wheel, door handles, seat cushions seat belts, oxygen tanks, gurney, IV Straps, floor, electronic equipment and more.

In Ohio

  • Ohio Testing: 50.6% of all agencies tested across Ohio had an ambulance contaminated with MRSA3 4.6% of EMS workers tested in Ohio were colonized with MRSA, which is higher than the rate of the colonization of the general public but on par with what was reported for other healthcare settings.


In Alabama

Ambulance equipment contaminated with drug-resistant superbug

Manas Mishra


(Reuters Health) – Ambulance oxygen tanks are likely to carry the “superbug” MRSA, a small U.S. study suggests, pointing to the need for regular disinfection of medical equipment.

Researchers tested nine oxygen tanks carried by three ambulances based at an emergency medical services (EMS) station in Alabama. They found MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, on all nine tanks.


They also swabbed oxygen tanks in a storage area, finding MRSA on 96 percent of the stored cylinders.


MRSA infections are difficult to treat because the bacteria are resistant to common antibiotics. Although usually mild, MRSA infections still cause thousands of deaths each year.


Other equipment on the ambulances, such as heart monitors and blood pressure cuffs, tested negative for MRSA contamination. But the floor of all three ambulances and a door handle in one ambulance tested positive.
“Oxygen cylinders are exchanged pretty rapidly between facilities, they (need) to be refilled, they’re not like normal pieces of medical equipment or supplies, which are disposable,” study author Cody Gibson, who was with Calhoun Community College when the study was conducted, told Reuters Health over the phone.


Because oxygen tanks are exchanged between facilities, the bacteria could spread across large areas, Gibson notes in the Emergency Medicine Journal.


The presence of MRSA on the tanks could be due to a lack of universal disinfection protocols for oxygen equipment, said Gibson, who is now at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Most ambulance equipment is disinfected after each patient because of company protocol or as directed by regulatory authorities, but oxygen cylinders could oftentimes be overlooked.


Gibson interviewed EMS personnel and found the staff was not aware of when the oxygen cylinders were last disinfected, while other surfaces that patients contacted were regularly decontaminated with disinfectants.


Dr. David Tan of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who is President-Elect of the National Association of EMS Physicians, told Reuters Health, “While it would be safe to say there is no ‘universal’ protocol for disinfection of an ambulance, there are a number of guidelines available for agencies to develop their own policy and procedure for ambulance disinfection.”

“MRSA exists in firehouses and EMS stations as well,” Tan said, “and the challenge is finding universally effective disinfection procedures and techniques that are both effective and efficient, especially in busier EMS services where there is constant system pressure to get back in service to answer the next call for help.”

Dr. Michael David, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, said contamination of ambulance oxygen cylinders is not widely discussed.

“This paper raises the problem of these specific objects being contaminated by MRSA and resulting in a previously unaddressed reservoir of MRSA in ambulances,” he told Reuters Health. “This observation importantly may result in new standard procedures to clean these objects with an antiseptic between uses.”

The study didn’t look at actual transmission rates, so it’s unclear whether anyone actually became infected from bacteria on these tanks. Also, Gibson points out, the samples only came from a single EMS station, and at only one point in time.

Still, he concludes, “Oxygen cylinders appear (likely to carry) MRSA. The development of universal disinfection protocols for oxygen equipment could help reduce the risk of patient infection due to cross-contamination.”

More Information

EMS passengers sometimes harbor blood borne and airborne pathogens that can be spread to equipment, crew members, and surfaces within the vehicle. EMS vehicles must maintain a superior cleaning program that ensures passengers and crew members are not infected from previous passengers. Our new Special LED Blue Light products can help reduce the risk of infection within the vehicle. Our LED Lights are inexpensive to purchase and use and will provide a major improvement in cleaning the vehicle on a 24/7 basis.

BlueTech LED

Watching Out For Our First Responders Health
1. Turning on the Blue adds another disinfecting solution to the mix.
2. A bacteria FREE workplace is especially important to pregnant women
3. Workmen’s Compensation Issues. Keep responders safe and on the job.
4. The safer the workplace the easier it is to recruit.

Give one of our BlueTech Consultants a call to find out how we can help you keep your vehicles and stations FREE from bacteria.
513-702-3533 or 407-230-9096 or 513-325-1623