Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Nebulisers are a Potential Source of Respiratory Infection

Nosocomial infections (infections acquired in hospital) are a serious problem in the hospital care environment - it isn't difficult to imagine that when you are surrounded by people with serious infections there is a high chance that you could be infected by the same organism that is infecting them if thorough safeguards are not put in place to prevent this.

Despite many precautions to prevent them nosocomial infections do still occur so extensive efforts are made to detect what could be causing these problems. This recent research article investigates one such cause for respiratory infections; the equipment often used to assist breathing eg nebulizers, oxygen humidifiers and the tubing used to connect the different components together.

The investigators tested all equipment for microbial contamination in a hospital in India. Surprisingly 76% of all equipment swabbed bore Aspergillus as a contaminant and perhaps even more worryingly 87% were contaminated with bacteria. Nearly 30% of the bacteria were multidrug resistant strains.

This clearly illustrates the importance of effective cleaning of all components of this type of equipment between patients and preventing sharing! In all probability this is already standard practice in many hospitals but this research work serves to illustrate how important it is to ensure policies are in place and adhered to!

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