Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

First Committee Member

Mark Buttner

Second Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger

Third Committee Member

Patricia Cruz

Fourth Committee Member

Patricia Alpert

Number of Pages



The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a serious public health issue affecting millions of people. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) is a leading cause of healthcare acquired infections today. Research has shown that patients infected or colonized with MRSA shed the bacteria into the environment, where the bacteria can survive for long periods of time and become potential sources of infection. Currently, infection prevention efforts focus on active surveillance, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment use and antimicrobial stewardship, with less attention given to environmental cleaning. Nevertheless, environmental cleaning is essential to remove infectious agents from environmental surfaces and prevent transmission. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of environmental cleaning programs in removing MRSA from environmental surfaces at an acute care hospital and a long-term care facility. Environmental swabs or sponge samples were collected from five locations (floor, television remote, call bell, bathroom doorknob and bed rail) pre- and post-terminal cleaning from the rooms of patients infected or colonized with MRSA. These swabs or sponges were then analyzed through culture isolation and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to confirm the presence of MRSA. A total of 120 environmental samples were obtained from two medical facilities. Culture analysis followed by confirmatory PCR analysis for the mecA gene showed that 18 of the 120 samples (15%) were positive for the presence of MRSA of which 16 were collected pre-cleaning (89%), and 2 were collected post-cleaning (11%). The location of the positive pre-cleaning samples included the floor (5), call bell (4), bed rail (4), bathroom doorknob (2) and TV remote (1), and the positive post-cleaning samples included the floor (1) and call bell (1). The results confirm the presence of MRSA on surfaces in patient rooms and suggest that environmental cleaning was effective, but there is potential for rooms to remain contaminated. Future research should focus on identifying the most effective cleaning programs to ensure rooms are safe for patients.


Drug resistance in microorganisms; Environmental cleaning; Environmental surfaces; Healthcare associated infection; Hospital housekeeping; Infection – Prevention; Long-term care facilities; Long-term care facility; Methicillin resistance; Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); Nosocomial infections; Sanitation; Staphylococcus aureus


Health and Medical Administration | Microbiology | Public Health

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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