Skip to main content

An outbreak of post-operative sepsis due to a staphylococcal disperser

  • Elizabeth I. Tanner (a1), Judith Bullin (a1), C. H. Bullin (a1) and D. R. Gamble (a1)

A staphylococcal disperser employed as a theatre technician appeared to have been the source of 11 cases of wound sepsis over a period of about 3 years. He was primarily a nasal carrier and after attempts to eradicate Staphylococcus aureus from his nose failed, his skin dispersal was controlled by daily washing with 4% chlorhexidine detergent (‘Hibiscrub’) and he was allowed to resume his theatre duties under careful bacteriological surveillance. Over the following 2 years 173 dispersal tests showed a mean dispersal of 1·7 c.f.u. per 2800 I air compared with a mean of 152 c.f.u. per 2800 I air in the month immediately preceding treatment and 55 c.f.u. per 2800 I in the period after cessation of treatment. One case of wound sepsis was attributed to the technician during the 2 years in which he received skin disinfection treatment.

Hide All
Ayliffe, O. A. J., Babb, J. A. & Collins, B. J. (1974). Dispersal of Staphylococcus aureus. Lancet ii, 1573.
Blair, J. E. & Williams, R. E. O. (1961). Phago typing of staphylococci. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 24, 771–84.
Hill, J., Howell, A. & Blowers, R. (1974). Effect of clothing on dispersal of Staphylococcus aureus by males and females. Lancet ii, 1131–3.
Lowbury, E. J. L. & Lilly, H. A. (1973). Use of 4% chlorhexidine detergent solution (‘Hibiscrub’) and other methods of skin disinfection. British Medical Journal i, 510–15.
Mitchell, N. J. & Gamble, D. R. (1974). Clothing design for operating-room personnel. Lancet ii, 1133–6.
White, A. (1961). Relation between quantitative nasal cultures and dissemination of staphylococci. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 58, 273–7.
Williams, R. E. O., Blowers, R., Garrod, L. P. & Shooter, R. A. (1966). Hospital Infection. London: Lloyd-Luke.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 40 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.