For many years, it has become the custom of the hospitals to get their doctors, nurses, and others to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs. But in a recent study, suggested they may want to expand those efforts to their patients, too.

In the study, the research found that 14 percent of 399 hospital patients tested had 'superbug' bacteria on their hands or nostrils very early in their hospital stay. And almost a third of the tests for such bacteria on objects that patients usually touch in their rooms like the nurse call buttons returned positive.

More than six percent of the patients without any multi-drug resistant organisms or MDROs, on their hands at the beginning of their hospitalization were positive later in their stay. Similar to having superbug on them too were one-fifth of the objects in their rooms.

The leader of the research, Lona Mody, M.D., M.Sc., the University of Michigan geriatrician, epidemiologist and patient safety research said that the narrative of hand hygiene had focused mainly on doctors, nurses, and other frontline staff and all the policies and performance measurements have centered on them, and rightfully so. Mody further stated that their findings make an argument for addressing transmission of MDROs in a way that involves patients too.

In the new paper in Clinical Infectious Diseases that Mody and colleagues wrote, it reported that of the six patients in their study who developed an infection with a superbug called MRSA while in the hospital, all had positive tests for MRSA on their hands and hospital room surfaces.

Added to the case of MRS, Mody's study also looked for VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus), another superbug and a group called RGNB, for resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Due to the constant use of antibiotics, the bacteria have evolved the ability to withstand attempts to treat infections with drugs that once killed them.

Also in the study, Mody suggested that several MDROs seen on patients are also seen in their rooms early in their stay, which indicates that transmission to room surfaces is rapid.

Mody concluded that infection prevention is the business of everybody. She said that no matter where people are, in a healthcare environment or not, their study is a good reminder for people to clean their hands often using proper techniques, mainly before and after preparing food, before eating food, after using a toilet and before and after caring for someone sick to prevent themselves and others.