Surveillance of microbiological contamination and correct use of protective lead garments

Healthcare associated infections are an important threat of Public Health. Several studies investigated the possible role played by the hospital environment in the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. In addition to the "classic" nosocomial surfaces, some researches focused their attention on "alternative" surfaces. Little is known about the protective lead garments used in operating rooms.

This study was conducted in three phases to investigate the microbiological contamination and the normal use of these garments. In the first step, we administered a questionnaire to know the frequency and the type of sanitation. Then, in the second step, we conducted the microbiological samplings and, finally, in the third step, we carried out a surveillance on the use of these garments during the surgical procedures.

In the first step, we administered the questionnaire through direct interview. For microbiological sampling we used sterile swabs, the normal growth media and the API Identification System (bioMérieux).

The study showed that the garments are sanitized only in 66.7% of the cases with a non-defined frequency. Moreover, a bacterial contamination was found on 88 garments with a positivity of 80.7% and the units with the higher rate of contamination were Urology, Orthopedics, Neuroradiology and Intensive Cardiac Care. Finally, 100% of the surgical team members wore sterile disposable shirts above the protective lead garments while this was never true for the rest of the nursing and anaesthesia team.

To prevent the contamination of these garments, it is important to develop appropriate sanitation procedures and to store them in special cabinets also subjected to sanitation. Finally, it is necessary to focus on the correct use of the protective lead garments.

Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunità. 0000 [Epub]

V La Fauci, R Riso, A Facciolà, V Merlina, R Squeri

Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, University of Messina, Messina, Italy., Postgraduate Medical School in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.