Bacterial contamination of ultrasound probes in different radiological institutions before and after specific hygiene training: do we have a general hygienical problem?
Aim was to investigate hygienic conditions of ultrasound probes before and after hygiene training in radiology institutions in comparison to bacterial contamination in public places.
In three radiology departments, bacterial contamination was evaluated using baseline agar plates for cultures taken from 36 ultrasound probes. Afterwards teams were trained by a hygiene service centre and 36 ultrasound probes were routinely disinfected with regular disinfecting wipes and then evaluated. In comparison, bacterial contamination in public places (bus poles, n = 11; toilet seats, n = 10) were analysed. Plates were routinely incubated and the number of colony forming units (CFU) analysed.
Cultures taken from the probes showed a median of 53 CFU before and 0 CFU after training (p < 0.001). Cultures taken from public places showed a median of 4 CFU from toilets and 28 from bus poles and had lower bacterial load in comparison to ultrasound probes before training (p = 0.055, toilets; p = 0.772, bus poles), without statistical significance.
Bacterial contamination of ultrasound probes prior to hygiene training proved to be high and showed higher bacterial load than toilets seats or bus poles. Radiologists should be aware that the lack of hygiene in the field of ultrasound diagnostics puts patients at risk of healthcare-associated infections.
• Hospital-associated infections are a problem for patient care.
• Hygiene training of staff prevents bacterial contamination of ultrasound probes.
• Disinfection of ultrasound probes is an easy method to protect patients.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00330-017-4812-1
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