Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in hundreds of Canadian hotel rooms

A recent test of 54 hotel rooms across six major chains in Canada revealed potentially lethal antibiotic-resistant superbugs, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and C. difficile.

The investigation examined 810 high-touch surfaces in rooms at Sheraton, Fairmont, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Super 8 and EconoLodge in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Comforters were found to be the dirtiest surfaces while toilet bases, faucets, bathroom sinks, bed throws and remote controls were the most commonly contaminated, CBC News reports.

"It was a surprise at the start, but amazing that all these hotels had superbugs," Keith Warriner, a microbiologist who conducted the tests, said, according to CBC News. "When you get...the antibiotic-resistant bacteria we're finding, that's not scare-mongering, that's real. These are real pathogens that can cause real illnesses."

Hidden camera footage showed one maid using a toilet brush to clean a sink and another one using a toilet rag to wipe a faucet. Warriner said such practices were causing the maids to transfer contamination throughout the hotel room.

"Seeing it on camera suggests that we need to re-visit our housekeeping practices, specifically at these hotels," Tim Oldfield, the managing director of franchise performance for EconoLodge, said, according to CBC News. "(The findings didn't meet) my expectation of the standards we set as an organization."

While MRSA and C. difficile are not rare bugs, they can be deadly when they infect people with weakened immune systems. The germs are often associated with hospitals, which made the hotel report that much more surprising, CBC News reports.