Evaluation of the effects of footwear hygiene protocols on nonspecific bacterial contamination of floor surfaces in an equine hospital.

Stockton KA, Morley PS, Hyatt DR, Burgess BA, Patterson G, Dunowska M, Lee DE.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of footwear hygiene protocols on bacterial contamination of floor surfaces in an equine hospital. DESIGN: Field trial. PROCEDURES: Footwear hygiene protocols evaluated included use of rubber overboots with footbaths and footmats containing a quaternary ammonium disinfectant, rubber overboots with footbaths and footmats containing a peroxygen disinfectant, and no restrictions on footwear type but mandatory use of footbaths and footmats containing a peroxygen disinfectant. Nonspecific aerobic bacterial counts were determined via 2 procedures for sample collection and bacterial enumeration (contact plates vs swabbing combined with use of spread plates), and the effects of each footwear hygiene protocol were compared. RESULTS: There were no consistent findings suggesting that any of the protocols were associated with differences in numbers of bacteria recovered from floor surfaces. Although there were detectable differences in numbers of bacteria recovered in association with different footwear hygiene protocols, differences in least square mean bacterial counts did not appear to be clinically relevant (ie, were < 1 log10). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Although cleaning and disinfection of footwear are important aids in reducing the risk of nosocomial transmission of infectious agents in veterinary hospitals, the numbers of aerobic bacteria recovered from floor surfaces were not affected by use of rubber overboots or the types of disinfectant used in this study. Further study is warranted to evaluate the usefulness of footwear hygiene practices relative to their efficacy for reducing transmission of specific pathogens or decreasing nosocomial disease risk.

Citation

Stockton KA, Morley PS, Hyatt DR, Burgess BA, Patterson G, Dunowska M, Lee DE. Evaluation of the effects of footwear hygiene protocols on nonspecific bacterial contamination of floor surfaces in an equine hospital. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2006 Apr 1;228(7):1068-73.