Associations between bacterial contamination of health care workers' hands and contamination of white coats and scrubs

L. Silvia Munoz-Price, Kristopher L. Arheart, John P. Mills, Timothy Cleary, Dennise Depascale, Adriana Jimenez, Yovanit Fajardo-Aquino, Gabriel Coro, David J. Birnbach, David Lubarsky

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50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Uniforms are potential reservoirs for hospital organisms, potentially reinfecting the hands of health care workers (HCWs). The study aimed to determine the association between the bacterial contamination of HCWs' hands and uniforms (white coats and scrubs). Methods: HCWs working in 5 intensive care units had cultures obtained from their hands and uniforms (white coats or scrubs). Pathogens were defined as any gram-negative bacilli, Staphylococcus aureus, and enterococci. Results: Bacterial growth was detected on 103 hands (86%); 13 (11%) grew S aureus, 7 (6%) grew Acinetobacter spp, 2 (2%) grew enterococci, and 83 (70%) grew only skin flora. The presence of pathogens on the hands was associated with a greater likelihood of the presence of pathogens on white coats (κ = 0.81; P <.001), but not on scrubs (κ = 0.31; P =.036). Similarly, the presence of Acinetobacter on HCWs' hands was associated with a greater likelihood of Acinetobacter contamination of white coats (κ = 0.70; P < .001), but not of scrubs (κ = 0.36; P =.024). Conclusions: Contamination of provider's hands with pathogens or Acinetobacter baumannii was associated with contamination of white coats. This association was not observed between hands and scrubs, however.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Volume40
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Acinetobacter
  • Hand contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Munoz-Price, L. S., Arheart, K. L., Mills, J. P., Cleary, T., Depascale, D., Jimenez, A., Fajardo-Aquino, Y., Coro, G., Birnbach, D. J., & Lubarsky, D. (2012). Associations between bacterial contamination of health care workers' hands and contamination of white coats and scrubs. American Journal of Infection Control, 40(9). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2012.03.032