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Bacterial Contamination of Hospital Physicians' Stethoscopes

  • Louis Bernard (a1), Anne Kereveur (a1), Dominique Durand (a1), Jeanne Gonot (a1), Fred Goldstein (a1), Jean Luc Mainardi (a1), Joseph Acar (a1) and Jean Carlet (a1)...

Because stethoscopes might be potential vectors of nosocomial infections, this study, conducted in a 450-bed general hospital, was devised to evaluate the bacterial contamination of stethoscopes; bacterial survival on stethoscope membranes; the kinetics of the bacterial load on stethoscope membranes during clinical use; and the efficacy of 70% alcohol or liquid soap for membrane disinfection. Among the 355 stethoscopes tested, 234 carried ≥2 different bacterial species; 31 carried potentially pathogenic bacteria. Although some bacteria deposited onto membranes could survive 6 to 18 hours, none survived after disinfection.

Corresponding author
Service des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Hôpital Raymond-Poincaré, 104, boulevard Raymond-Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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