Contaminated Gloves May Be Spreading Bacteria in Hospitals

Gloving is still the recommended practice to protect against contamination
Gloving is still the recommended practice to protect against contamination

Bacteria on healthcare workers' gloves can contaminate hospital surfaces and lead to the spread of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), a new study has found.

Researchers from Bunkyo Gakuin University, Japan, inoculated nitrile examination gloves with specific microorganisms of common healthcare-associated pathogens. The contaminated gloves were then touched to a sterilized polypropylene surface.

Examination of the surface found that Acinetobacter baumannii remained indicating the possibility for cross-transmission of pathogens among healthcare workers; Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and Psuedomonas aeruginosa were not detected on the surface. 

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The study notes that gloving is still the recommended practice as a barrier of protection for healthcare workers to, “reduce the risk of contamination during contact with infectious sputum, urine and body fluids,” said study author Sae Otani. The finding that certain bacteria can positively transfer from gloves to sterilized surfaces reiterates the need for removing or changing gloves regularly.

The researchers wrote that HCAIs caused by gram-negative organisms such as Acinetobacter spp.P. aeruginosa and Enterobacteriaceae are a major concern.

"Proper glove use may decrease the risk of healthcare-associated infections and gloves should be carefully used and removed after use depending on the types of bacteria," said Ms. Otani.

The full findings from the study were presented at the American Society for Microbiology 2016, for more information visit ASMmicrobe.org.

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