Changing the channel on nosocomial infections


The antimicrobial power of pyramids help to keep the patrons of the Bradford, PA Best Western Motel safe from disease!

Steph Bower (11 AM Micro) is very worried about nosocomial infections, and the possibility that our TV clickers might be reservoirs of disease. I submit for your enjoyment a photo I took with my cruddy flip phone of the TV remote when I went to this year’s Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting, in scenic Bradford County. No one got sick with TV disease at that meeting! Here’s Steph’s summary:

After what seems like a spurt of bad luck running in my family, I have found myself visiting a lot of healthcare facilities within the last year. Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Physical Therapy offices, and hospice centers; you name it I have most likely visited it myself or with a family member. After talking about nosocomial infections in class, I started thinking about all the indirect transmission that occurs in these healthcare facilities with infections finding homes especially on fomites even after daily cleaning. I then remembered a strange device I encountered on one of my trips to a Hospice Center called a “Clean Remote”.

If you really think about it, what is something that never seems to get cleaned even in our own households? I cannot tell you the last time I even wiped down my remote. The Clean Remote website stated “in several studies, TV remotes have been revealed to be a leading carrier of bacteria in a patient’s room”. It is true that many inanimate objects such as a remote could be an exogenous source to nosocomial infections within healthcare facilities with nurses, doctors, family members, and other staff members constantly coming into contact with such items. One study, according to the American Journal of Infection Control discussed the increased surface area due to the cracks and crevasses being the main culprit of bacteria growth on clickers even after cleaning occurred.

The website cited a study conducted by The University of Arizona in which they tested different brands of remotes including their “Clean Remote” after cleaning for the number of MRSA and VRE bacteria. Of course the Clean Remote contained the least about of bacteria at 10,251 compared to the closest Panasonic remote which had 1,315,00 bacteria. You would think the “Clean Remote” has a special disinfectant or something really unique about it that causes it to have such a “clean nature”. But no, in true fashion it is just about making money. The only true difference between a regular remote and a “Clean  Remote” is that there are no cracks or crevasses and it is made of a non-porous material. There will still be bacteria found on the clicker as shown by their study, but just relatively fewer.

This just shows you the direction our society is going in. The world is just about making money. “To show your facility cares about your patients” the website reaps as a marketing tool.  So if you want to reduce the risk of spreading infection within your own home, a clean remote can be yours for only $9.95 just don’t forget to clean it. It is suggested you clean your “clean remote” daily to prevent the spread of infection. However if you want to save some money, wikiHow gives some cool tips on how to clean your regular remote with cotton swabs and common cleaning supplies for the less of us who are not germaphobes .


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on November 26, 2013, in Danger danger danger!, Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Changing the channel on nosocomial infections.

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