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Original Contributions
September 7, 1964

Transmission of Staphylococci by Fomites

JAMA. 1964;189(10):711-715. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070100005001

Newborn infants were given blankets, shirts, or diapers which had been exposed to carriers of Staphylococcus aureus. Transmission of organisms to the recipient infants occurred when the fomites were heavily contaminated. The infectivity of the fomites was not influenced by storage for several days at room temperature or by the bacteriophage type of Staphylococcus. The most important factor influencing transmission of organisms by fomites was their degree of contamination. Since the amount of contamination required for successful transmission was unlikely to be achieved under normal nursery precautions, it is concluded that fomites are of minor importance in the spread of hospital-derived staphylococcal disease in the nursery. The data emphasize, however, the importance of proper laundering of heavily contaminated articles which are to be given to subsequent patients, whether they be infants, children, or adults.