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CONTAMINATION
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A MAJOR VECTOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Every studies, especially the most recent ones(5), show a very high percentage, from 70% to 100%(2) of stethoscopes are contaminated. Most frequent bacteria are Coagulase Staphylococci (89 to 100 % (1) (2) ), Staphylococus Aureus (up to 57 % (2) (3)), Acinetobacter Baumanii(5), Corynebacterium spp(1) (2), Bacillus spp(1) (2), Aspergillus spp(2), Candida(2), Gram positive(1) and Gram negative bacteria(2).
Skin contamination is also the second place of infection with 11% of cross contamination in hospital (6)

AN UNCONTROLLED RISK

After more than a day without disinfection, 69% of stethoscopes are contaminated again(1). 4 to 5 minutes of contact with the skin are enough to re-contaminate a stethoscope(2). Studies(1) (2) (3) (4) show that most health care personnel carry out disinfection less than one time a day.

(1) Taux de contamination des stéthoscopes en mileu hospitalier- Genne, De Torrente, Humaire, Siegrist in Scheizerische medeziniche Wochenschrift Vol 126, An 1996, Fasc 51-52
(2) Stethoscopes: A potential source of nosocomial infection - Francis Marie, Africa-Purino, Dy, Coronel in Phil J Microbiol Infect Dis 2000; 29(2): 9-13
(3) Stethoscopes: A potential Vector of Infection-Jeffrey S jones MD, FACEP, David Hoerle, Robert Riekse in Annals of Emergency Medecine Vol 26, Issue 3, sept 1995, Pages 226-299.
(4) The stethoscope in the emergency departement : a vector of infection - NUNEZ S.; MORENO A. ; GREEN K ; VILLAR J. in Epidemiology and infection 2000, vol. 124, no2, pp. 233-237.
(5) The stethoscope as a vector of infectious diseases in the paediatric division - I Youngster, M Berkovitch, E Heyman , Z Lazarovitch, M Goldman, Acta Paediatrica, 2008 Sep. Volume 97 Issue 9, Pages 1253 - 1255
(6) Enquête de prévalence nationale coordonnée 2001 par RAISIN (Réseau d’Alerte,d’Investigation et de surveillance des Infections Nosocomiales) Données sur 1533 établissements privés et publics


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