Microbiological contamination of spirometers - an exploratory study in general practice.
SourceAustralian Family Physician, 41, 1-2, (2012), pp. 63-4
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Australian Family Physician
SubjectN4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation NCEBP 3: Implementation Science; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health N4i 3: Poverty-related infectious diseases
BACKGROUND: Spirometry is an important tool when diagnosing chronic respiratory conditions in general practice. However, the equipment may harbour pathogenic micro-organisms and cross-transmission of aerolised pathogens could occur if hygiene measures are insufficient. METHODS: We assessed microbiological contamination in 16 spirometers from a convenience sample of South Australian general practices. Results We found potentially relevant microbiological contamination in three spirometers: two Pseudomonas spp.; one coagulase negative Staphylococcus sp. and one Alcaligenes sp. Although the three practices concerned all reported to have a written spirometer cleaning protocol in place, the frequency of spirometer disinfection did not match the manufacturers' DISCUSSION: Despite the small size of our study sample, we found potentially relevant microbiological contamination in 3 out of 16 spirometers from metropolitan general practices. The potential hazard of spirometers as reservoirs of microorganisms stresses the need for stricter attention to hygiene measures for spirometer maintenance in general practices.
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