Infection control protocols: is it time to clean up our act?


emergency service care
Staphylococcus aureus
infection control
best practice

How to Cite

Makiela S, Weber A, Maguire BJ, Taylor-Robinson AW. Infection control protocols: is it time to clean up our act?. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2018Aug.5 [cited 2022Jun.26];15(3). Available from:


While paramedics in Australia respond to many call-outs daily, little is known of the risks of infectious disease transmission that may arise from contamination of vehicles, equipment, personnel and/or patients. We examine what is currently known of the current risks in Australia posed by contamination of emergency service vehicles by antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms.


Australian Government Productivity Commission. Report on government services. Volume E: health. 2017. Available at: [Accessed 18 December 2017].

Maguire BJ, Dean S, Bissell RA, Walz BJ, Bumbak D. Epidemic and bioterrorism preparation among EMS systems. Prehosp Disaster Med 2007;22:237–42.

Walz BJ, Bissell RA, Maguire BJ, Judge JA 2nd. Vaccine administration by paramedics: a model for bioterrorism and disaster response preparation. ibid. 2003;18:321–6.

Nigam Y, Cutter J. A preliminary investigation into bacterial contamination of Welsh emergency ambulances. Emerg Med J 2003;20:479–82.

Alves DW, Bissell RA. Bacterial pathogens in ambulances: results of unannounced sample collection. Prehosp Emerg Care 2008;12:218–24.

Eibicht SJ, Vogel U. Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ambulance cars after short term transport of MRSA-colonised patients is restricted to the stretcher. J Hosp Infect 2011;78:221–5.

Yoo IS, You YH, Kwon KC, Jeong TO. Bacterial contamination conditions in ambulances and their equipment in South Korea. Journal of the Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2012;23:1–7.

Makiela S, Taylor-Robinson AW, Weber A, Maguire BJ. A preliminary assessment of contamination of emergency service helicopters with MRSA and multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Emerg Med 2016;6:304.


Galtelli M, Deschamp C, Rogers J. An assessment of the prevalence of pathogenic microorganisms in the rotor wing air ambulance: one program’s findings. Air Med J 2006;25:81–4.

Groß R, Hübner N, Assadian O, Jibson B, Kramer A, Working Section for Clinical Antiseptic of the German Society for Hospital Hygiene. Pilot study on the microbial contamination of conventional vs. silver-impregnated uniforms worn by ambulance personnel during one week of emergency medical service. GMS Krankenhaushygiene Interdisziplinär 2010;5:pii: Doc09.

McDonald LC. Trends in antimicrobial resistance in health care-associated pathogens and effect on treatment. Clin Infect Dis 2006;42(Suppl 2):S65–71.

Al Amiry A, Bissell RA, Maguire BJ, Alves DW. Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization prevalence among Emergency Medical Services personnel. Prehosp Disaster Med 2013;28:348–52.

Brown R, Minnon J, Schneider S, Vaughn J. Prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in ambulances in southern Maine. Prehosp Emerg Care 2010;14:176–81.

Kober P, Labes H, Möller H, Hülsse C, Kramer A. Hygiene status of ambulances and equipment in rescue services. Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie 2001;36:25–30 [Article in German].

Lee JB, Levy M, Walker A. Use of a forensic technique to identify blood contamination of emergency department and ambulance trauma equipment. Emerg Med J 2006;23:73–5.

National Patient Safety Agency. The national specifications for cleanliness in the NHS: a framework for setting and measuring performance outcomes in ambulance trusts. 11 February 2009. Version 1. Available at: [Accessed 18 December 2017].