KCBS_740SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Filthy computer keyboards may just be an annoying fact of life for many, but for hospital workers and patients, they can be deadly.

More than 100,000 people die from infections they pick up in hospitals every year. Doctors and nurses use gloves and brand new needles when they move from patient to patient, but those keyboards are rarely cleaned.

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One reason is the act of cleaning a keyboard could affect critical patient records. “As soon as you started wiping off the keys, you’d start opening windows, locking up your desktop, entering unwanted data into patient records,” Deanne Van Kirk with Oakland-based Key Source International said.

Key Source manufactures hospital-grade, sealed computer keyboards that can be scrubbed and disinfected without affecting the hardware or creating unwanted keystrokes.

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Van Kirk says their keyboards are a game changer, simply because they have an off button that eliminates keystrokes during cleaning.

“We have created software now that collects the data – who cleaned it, when they cleaned it, and where they were in the hospital,” Van Kirk said.

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The software also detects who used the keyboard without cleaning it, which may be even more important than anything else.