Nurses’ Scrubs Are Spreading Dangerous Germs In Hospitals, Says Study

Posted: Nov 1 2016, 12:50pm CDT | by , Updated: Nov 1 2016, 11:43pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Nurses’ Scrubs are Spreading Dangerous Germs in Hospitals, Says Study
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Scrubs of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses often pick up harmful bacteria, including those resistant to antibiotics.

Dangerous germs can spread in hospitals in no time. Recently, researchers from Duke University have tried to look at how germs are spreading in hospitals and identified a major hotspot of dangerous bacteria, called nurses’ scrub. 

The study suggests that scrubs of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, especially their sleeves and pockets, are often contaminated with disease-causing germs. Nurses pick up those germs from the patients in ICU and caused them to spread around the hospital as well as to those patients who come into contact with them. 

“We know there are bad germs in hospitals but we're just beginning to understand how they are spread,” said lead study author Deverick Anderson, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center.

“Our study showed that nurses’ clothing becomes contaminated with epidemiologically important organisms in more than 10% of their shifts.”

For the study, researchers involved 40 nurses working at intensive care unit of Duke University Hospital, who provide health care to 167 patients in three separate 12-hour shifts. All nurses cared for at least one patient per shift and used new scrubs for each shift. 

Researchers collected samples from nurses' scrubs before and after each shift. Samples were also taken from the patients they cared for and the objects in patient’s room.

There were 22 instances when germs were transferred from patients or the items of their rooms to the nurse’s scrub. Of those, 6 were from patient to nurse, 6 were from the room to the nurse and 10 were from patient to the room. There was no instance in which germs were transferred from nurse to patients or nurse to room. Researchers also found that sleeves and pockets of the scrubs had more chances of being contaminated with germs than the rest of the suit.

Molecular analysis also showed that organisms on the nurses' clothing were not present at the beginning of a shift but they were found on the scrubs at the end of the shift. The findings suggest that even just entering into a room where care is provided to patients could expose a person to organisms that can cause diseases.

“…it’s important to track this kind of movement of pathogens,” said Professor Anderson. “If you have nurses contaminated with MRSA at the end of the day, and each is taking care of at least two patients in the ICU – and potentially more patients on other units – you have a source of potential transmission of harmful bacteria.”

“This study is a good wake-up call that health care personnel need to concentrate on the idea that the health care environment can be contaminated. The study’s results demonstrate the need for caution whenever healthcare providers enter a patient room, regardless of the task they’re completing.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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