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American Journal of Infection Control
Vol. 42, No. 1, 2014, Pages: 82–83

Stethoscopes as potential intrahospital carriers of pathogenic microorganisms

Alejandro Campos-Murguía, Ximena León-Lara, Juan M. Muñoz, Alejandro E. Macías, José A. Álvarez

Postgraduate Program – Master’s Degree in Biomedical Science/Uniararas, Araras, São Paulo, Brasil.


Stethoscopes can take part in the transmission of health care-associated infections. We cultured 112 stethoscopes by direct imprint on blood agar to estimate the prevalence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Forty-eight (47%) produced 50 potentially pathogenic microorganisms; from these, 43 (86%) were Staphylococcus aureus, of which 18 (42%) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus. We concluded that stethoscopes should be considered as potential fomites and must be disinfected routinely before and after each patient contact.

Keywords: Fomites, Contamination, Disinfection.

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