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Medical transport-associated infection: Review and commentary making a case for its legitimacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2020

Diego Schaps
School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Anjni Patel Joiner
Division of Emergency Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Deverick J. Anderson*
Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
Author for correspondence: Deverick J. Anderson, E-mail:


The purpose of this article is to summarize existing literature about healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in the medical transport environment and to define the term medical transport–associated infection (MTAI) to unify all previous work under a single umbrella with the objective of providing a standardized definition for future research. A review of the literature yielded 34 relevant articles. These studies show that there are pathogens in the ambulance environment, that emergency medical services (EMS) personnel do not regularly comply with hygiene practices, and that patients are potentially affected by HAI as a direct result of ambulance exposure. Prospective studies must be conducted to truly understand the impact that ambulance exposure has on HAIs. MTAI is a subset of HAI and is defined as any infection acquired as a direct effect of exposure in a medical transport setting.

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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