Hospital Uniforms Test Positive for Potentially Dangerous Bacteria
September 6, 2011
Ever wonder how often the Doctor or Nurse you see at a Hospital or even a doctor’s office change their scrubs/gowns? I honestly had never really thought much of it until I came across this article on OrthoSuperSite this morning…
Warning… germaphobes beware!!!
Needless to say, I am now thoroughly grossed out and yes, now I understand why I go straight to the shower after coming home from a day of surgeries, even after changing out of my scrubs.
According to the article, a recent study found dangerous bacteria on more than half of physicians’, nurses’ uniforms.
More than 60% of hospital nurses’ and physicians’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerousbacteria, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
A team of researchers in Israel led by Yonit Wiener-Well, MD, collected 238 swab samples from the abdominal zone, sleeve ends and pockets of 75 registered nurses’ and 60 physicians’ uniforms, then asked each participant to complete a questionnaire.
Although 79 (58%) of the participants claimed they changed their uniform daily and 104 (77%) described their attire’s hygiene level as “fair to excellent,” the study authors were able to isolate potentially pathogenic bacteria from at least one site on 85 participants’ uniforms (63%) — 119 samples (50%) in all.
The authors also noted they found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 21 samples removed from nurses’ gowns and 6 samples removed from physicians’ gowns — including 8 cultures that grew methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus.
“Up to 60% of hospital staff’s uniform are colonized with potentially pathogenic bacteria, including drug-resistant organisms,” the authors wrote. “It remains to be determined whether these bacteria can be transferred to patients and cause clinically relevant infection.”
While the study does state that they aren’t sure if the bacteria can be transferred to patients… it has to make you wonder because, when you think about it, they are traveling from room to room, one patient to another while making their rounds all the while in the same uniform. Just something to think about… and potentially gross you out.
Wiener-Well Y, Galuty M, Rudensky B, et al. Nursing and physician attire as possible source of nosocomial infections. Am J Infect Control. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2010.12.016.