Infection control and cross-infection present a major problem for hospitals greatly increasing risk to health and causing considerable expense. Bedding interiors colonised with bacteria, becomes a reservoir of infection, posing an increased risk of hospital acquired infections.

(i) Weber D, Rutala W, Miller M, Huslage K, Sickbert-Bennet E. Role of hospital surfaces in the transmission of emerging healthcare-associated pathogens; norovirus, Clostridium difficile, and acinetobacter species. american Journal of Infection Control, 2010 Jun; 35 (5 Suppl 1) S25-33

How they get inside

“Often only the bedrail has been sampled dusting investigation of outbreaks, rather than more important potential reservoirs of infection, such as mattresses and pillows, which are in direct contact with patients. It is essential that these items and other bed components are adequately decontaminated to minimise the risk of cross-infection.” (i)

(i) E. Creamer and H . Humphreys, The Hospital Infection Society, (c) 2008

The most frequent route of (sic – infection) transmission, however, is indirect contact. The infected patient touches and contaminates an object, an instrument, or a surface. Subsequent contact between that item and another patient is likely to contaminate the second individual who may then develop an infection. (i)

(i) World Health Organisation, Hospital Hygiene and Infection Control, P151

What the experts say

“In the war against infection, one of the most insidious pockets of resistance is the hospital bedding. Live organisms harvested from a typical hospital pillow include MRSA, C. Diff, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and many more (i), (ii).”

(i) Communicable Disease Report, 13th October 1997 Public Health Laboratory Service

(ii) Report of the PHLS Clostridium difficile Working Group. PHLS Microbiol Dig 1994; 11(1): 22-4