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Infectious Disease 'Transmission Triangle' Identified

By HealthLeaders Media News  
   October 28, 2016

Hospital bedrails and the pockets and sleeves of healthcare workers' scrubs are the most likely sites for contamination in the ICU, research finds.

Nurses and other hospital direct care workers need to be aware of the "transmission triangle"—patients, the environment, and the provider, according to a new study from Duke University Hospital.

The study was presented at IDWeek, a joint meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society in New Orleans.

Any type of activity in patient care, including walking into a patient room where care is provided, "truly should be considered a chance for interacting with organisms that can cause disease," Deverick Anderson, MD, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

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The researchers took cultures from the sleeves, pockets, and midriff area of surgical scrubs of 40 ICU nurses at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. The scrubs were new and the samples were collected at the start and end of each shift.

The researchers also sampled the nurses' patients and the patients' beds, bedrails, and supply carts. Samples were collected from 167 patients during 120 shifts of 12 hours each. The study collected 2,185 cultures from the nurses' clothing, 455 from patients, and 2,919 from patients' rooms.

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