Pediatric waiting room toys could harbor viruses

October 30, 2008

Toys in pediatric waiting rooms may expose patients to cold viruses, according to findings presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, held jointly with the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Toys in pediatric waiting rooms may expose patients to cold viruses, according to findings presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, held jointly with the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The researchers obtained 20 swab samples from toys in a four-pediatrician office on three different occasions during the fall and winter of 2006 and 2007. They also collected 15 swabs from the toys in the sick waiting room before and after it was cleaned.

Results showed viral RNA on 12 of the 60 toys tested. Six of the toys from the sick-child waiting room had viral contamination, while two toys from the well-child waiting room had viral contamination. Exam room toys, however, were not contaminated with viral RNA.

Although nurses cleaned the toys twice a week using germicidal wipes, among six of 14 toys tested before cleaning had rhinovirus RNA, four were still contaminated after cleaning. In addition, two of the toys that were not contaminated before cleaning later became contaminated.

The researchers noted that viral RNA detected on toys does not necessarily mean they are infectious.