A new study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine found that the scrubs of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses pick up disease-carrying germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics, according to news reports.
The researchers focused on five pathogens known to cause hard-to-treat infections, including an antibiotic-resistant superbug called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers found that germs spread from patients to the nurses’ uniforms, typically the sleeves and pockets, as well as to objects around the room, such as bed railings.
The study included 40 intensive care unit nurses at Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC. Samples were collected from their scrubs before and after each 12-hour shift. Samples also were collected from all the patients the nurses cared for and items in the patients’ rooms.
The study found 22 instances when at least one of the five germs was transmitted from the patient or the room to a nurse’s scrubs. In six incidents, the germs spread from patient to nurse and room to nurse, and in 10 instances, bacteria was transmitted from the patient to the room.
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