Published research shows ample evidence of contaminated mattresses, disinfection failures & patients infected by dirty mattresses



FDA Warning

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting health care providers, health care facility staff, and caregivers that damaged or worn covers for medical bed mattresses can allow blood and body fluids to penetrate medical bed mattresses, posing a risk of infection to patients."

Cross Contamination Risks

"Common HAI-causing pathogens can survive on both hard and soft surfaces for long enough to be transmitted to patients, healthcare workers or the healthcare environment."

Disinfection Failure

“There are no EPA-registered disinfectants on the market with a kill claim for mattresses. . . .This presents a serious infection prevention risk since there is a mere, thin sheet separating the patient from the pathogens that lie beneath. . .”

A Bacteriological Study of Hospital Beds Before and After Disinfection with Phenolic Disinfection

". . .   the usual disinfection procedures, instead of diminishing the number of microbes, merely displaced them from one part of the mattress to another, and the number of microorganisms remained the same."

Environmental Contamination Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

Out of 41 rooms that had previously been occupied by patients with recent evidence of MRSA, 10 showed evidence of MRSA in the environment after terminal cleaning. 8 mattresses in the 10 rooms were found to be contaminated. 

Potential Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure from Occult Mattress Damage

A near-miss patient incident involving body fluids seeping from a mattress led to a visual inspection of 656 hospital bed mattresses of which 177 (27%) were contaminated because of occult (hidden) damage to mattress covers.

Review: The Contribution of Beds to Health-Care Associated Infection: the Importance of Adequate Decontamination

Bed components including . . . mattresses may become contaminated by microorganisms through direct contact with skin scales, body fluids including urine and feces, and thus become a source of infection.

Gentamicin-Resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection from Mattresses in a Burn Unit

Prior Environmental Contamination Increases the Risk of Acquisition of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci

Three of eight mattresses in a burn unit were contaminated with Gentamicin-resistant Ps aeruginosa. Resistant strains survived for more than two months in mattress foam that was stored in the laboratory.

. . . prior room contamination, whether measured via environmental cultures or prior room occupancy by VRE-colonized patients, was highly predictive of VRE acquistion. Increased attention to environmental disinfection is warranted.

Cleaning practices for hospital mattresses in top US Adult Hospitals

Most top US Adult Hospitals do not follow manufacturer's instructions on appropriate cleaning and disinfection of hospital mattresses.

Environmental Contamination by Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae

5 locations . . . are most likely to be contaminated - the bed surfaces, the infusion pump, and the personal table, with the bed surfaces being the most contaminated sites.

Multiresistant Enterobacter Cloacae Outbreak in an Intensive Care Unit Associated with Therapeutic Beds

A multiresistant Enterobacter cloacae outbreak in an intensive care unit was traced to contaminated foam mattresses which were covered with a waterproof antibacterially treated permeable polyurethane cover. Cleaning had caused hidden damage to the covers.

Mattresses as Reservoirs of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

An outbreak of MRSA was caused by damaged mattresses.


Contamination of Hospital Mattresses by Microorganisms of Epidemiological Relevance: an Integrative Review

Mattress Contamination is due to failures in the execution of cleaning and disinfection, and the breakdown of covers. MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter spp and Enterobacter cloacae are major contaminants.

Anti-Static Mattress as Reservoir of Pseudomonas Infection

Seventeen patients were infected by a contaminated mattress. The mattress had hidden damage and was filled with patient fluids.

Environmental Reservoirs of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in Isolation Rooms; Correlation with Patient Isolates and Implications for Hospital Hygiene.

The isolation rooms of 25 patients with MRSA were cleaned regularly for four weeks and then tested. Over half the mattresses were contaminated with MRSA.

Evaluation of Hospital Room Assignment and Acquisition of Clostridium difficile Infection.

Patients placed in rooms where the prior occupants were infected with Clostridium difficile have a statistically significant increased risk for becoming infected themselves.