Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 236-239

Disinfection of stethoscopes: Gap between knowledge and practice in an Indian tertiary care hospital

1 Department of Microbiology, R. D. Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Anatomy, R. D. Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pharmacology, R. D. Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India; Division of Global Health, IHCAR, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Anshu Jain
Department of Microbiology, R. D. Gardi Medical College, Surasa, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.116503

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Context: Stethoscopes are used primarily to assess the health of patients and are one of the most commonly used medical devices. Thus, are the prominent tools for the spread of health-care associated infections (HAIs). Aims: The study was conducted to assess the knowledge and awareness about handling of the stethoscope and cleaning practices followed among the healthcare workers (HCWs). Materials and Methods: A total of 80 participants were included during a 4-month study period at a tertiary care hospital in Ujjain. A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed to HCWs and the surface of the diaphragm of their stethoscopes were swabbed for bacteriological analysis using standard techniques. Results: Out of total 80 stethoscopes, 69 (86%) were found to be contaminated with at least one type of microorganism. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most predominant bacterial species found on 58 stethoscopes, followed by Bacillus subtilis (n = 21) and Staphylococcus spp. (n = 16). Out of total 10 S. aureus isolated, 3 were methicillin-resistant S. aureus ( MRSA). Majority (97%) of the HCWs had good knowledge about the topic, but only 22 (27%) reported to apply it in the practice. Conclusions: Our study confirmed that majority of the stethoscopes were contaminated with microorganisms. Besides having knowledge about the importance of cleaning the stethoscopes, lower percentage of HCWs reported to follow it in practice. Thus, the authors recommend regularization of reminders such as circulars, motivating posters for the HCWs to clean the diaphragm of the stethoscopes.

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