(NaturalNews) A group of researchers at the University College London Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust teaching hospital have developed an unconventional tool to fight hospital infections: a clean keyboard.
"Doctors and nurses were going from patient to the keyboard without washing their hands," said UCLH consultant microbiologist Dr. Peter Wilson, who developed the "clean keyboard" alongside clinical scientist Dr. Paul Ostro. "That's quite understandable because you would wash your hands between patients, but not between a patient and a keyboard.
"As we are going to be increasingly using computers, we thought we would have to come up with a model that was very easy to clean to try to break the cycle of infection," Wilson said.
The new keyboards are completely flat and easy to clean, thereby making it simple to keep the keyboards from spreading infection, the UCLH researchers said. The devices are also equipped with a timer to remind nursing staff when they need cleaning, usually with alcohol wipes. Research suggests even the bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which has killed hundreds of hospital patients, can be reduced by 10 percent through use of the clean keyboards.
The keyboards need to be cleaned a minimum of every 12 hours to be clean enough for hospital use, according to UCLH microbiologists, and that causes the bacterial levels to drop by 70 percent.
"Compliance with twice-daily cleaning went up from 10 to 20 percent with the keyboard covers, to 87 percent with the new model," Wilson said.
Idaho-based company Esterline Advanced Input Systems made the keyboard for the NHS Foundation Trust, and in October, the UCLH hospital board approved the purchase of 2,000 clean keyboards.
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