The provider, however, may have a microscopic quantity of the prior patient's blood on his or her glove, and inadvertently transfers the pathogen to the exterior of the glucometer.
The blood test strip is discarded in a receptacle for hazardous materials. The healthcare worker discards his or her used gloves and puts on a new pair for the next patient.
The same or another health provider touches the glucometer, transferring the blood particles onto the fresh pair of gloves or skin, and then carries that infection to the next patient.
Perz says that most of the evidence of glucose monitoring causing healthcare-associated infections comes from long-term care settings. "Most of these outbreaks involved re-use of finger stick devices, but there were several outbreaks...where we did not find evidence of a fingerstick device being reused, and we hypothesized that the glucometer may have been a factor."
Perhaps even more important, when investigators see such errors, "we often see issues related to hand hygiene or glove use," or other recommended prevention activities that aren't being done, he says.