Bacterial contamination of medical doctors’ white coats as contributing factor to hospital acquired infections
This study was carried out to determine the degree of contamination by bacterial agents on the white coats in hospital setting. Multistage method was used to select respondents across cadre, sex and department for the questionnaire. Cuffs, sleeve and mouths of pocket of doctors’ white coats were swabbed using wet sterile swab stick. The swabs were analyzed using standard procedure for bacterial contamination. The study revealed that 77.7% of the coats were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus (45.1%), Staphylococcus epidermidis (26.2%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (22.6%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (3.7%) and Enterococcus faecalis (2.4%). White coats of male resident doctors were more contaminated than that of the female resident doctors, while white coats of doctors from the Department of Surgery had the highest degree of contamination than other Departments. There was a significant difference between the age of white coats, usage, frequency of washing and number of white coats per doctor (P <0.05) but no significant difference between age and number of white coats possessed on the number of isolates found on the sleeve and mouth of pocket of the white coats (P>0.05). Conclusively, doctors’ white coats were highly contaminated with pathogenic aerobic bacteria. Proper maintenance and handling practices of the white coats are precautions to be taken in order to minimize the degree of bacterial contamination and to prevent cross contamination of healthcare associated infection pathogens in hospital setting.
Keywords: Medical doctors, White coats, Bacteria, Hospital, Infection, Healthcare.
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