News, Patient Care

Low Levels of Resistant Bacteria Found in Chicago-Area Ambulances

CHICAGO — Treatment areas of ambulances fared well when tested for dangerous bacteria, according to a new study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC—the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Approximately six percent of sites sampled in Chicago-area ambulances tested positive for Staphyloccocus aureus (S. aureus), a bacterium that can cause serious infections and can easily acquire resistance to potent antibiotics.

A team of researchers from Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., took samples from 26 areas inside of 71 ambulances from 34 different Chicago-area municipalities. The team recovered 100 S. aureus isolates from more than 1,800 sites that were sampled (less than six percent). At least one S. aureus sample was found in 69 percent of ambulances tested. Of all isolates detected, 77 percent showed resistance to at least one commonly used antibiotic, and 12 percent were identified as the “superbug” known as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).

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