Mechanisms for floor surfaces or environmental ground contamination to cause human infection

T. RASHID, H. VONVILLE, I. HASAN, AND K. W. GAREY

Shoe soles have been shown to transfer infectious microorganisms to floor and ground surfaces. However, the possible modes of transmission of infectious agents from floors or ground surfaces to human contact for infection have not been systematically reviewed. A systematic review was performed on articles indexed in medical databases (Medline, EMBASE, PubMed) using a pre-defined search strategy and MeSH terms (date of last search: 15 March 2016). Only primary research studies in English that investigated the transmission dynamics of infectious microorganisms from floor or ground surfaces to human infection were included. Extraction of articles was performed two independent reviewers using pre-defined data fields in an Excel sheet. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. Thirty studies met the inclusion criteria. Almost all hospital-associated microorganisms including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, and multidrug-resistant Gram-negative species were identified on floor or ground surfaces. Several modes of transmission dynamics, most commonly direct contact or aerosolization, were identified. In conclusion, interventions such as efficient cleaning of floor surfaces and vectors that transfer infectious organisms to floors such as shoe soles could be an effective infection control strategy to prevent human disease.