The stethoscope as a vector of infectious diseases in the paediatric division

I. Youngster, M. Berkovitch, E. Heyman, Z. Lazarovitch, M. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Nosocomial infections are of great concern in hospital settings, and even more so in the paediatric ward. Health professionals and their medical equipment have long been known to act as vectors of infectious diseases. This study aimed at evaluating the presence of bacterial pathogens on the stethoscopes of medical personnel in the paediatric division. Methods: Forty-three stethoscopes belonging to senior physicians, residents, interns and medical students at the paediatric ward were sampled. Bacterial cultures and antibiotic sensitivity testing were carried out. Results: All but six bacterial cultures were positive (85.7%). Staphylococcal species were the most common contaminants (47.5%). One case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was encountered. Gram-negative organisms were isolated in nine different samples (21%) including one case of Acinetobacter baumannii in the neonatal intensive care unit. Conclusion: Most stethoscopes harbour potential pathogens. The isolation of Gram-negative organisms pose a real risk of spreading potentially serious infections, especially in the setting of intensive care departments. Apparently, the current recommendations of regular disinfection of stethoscopes are not carried out by health personnel that participated in the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253-1255
Number of pages3
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hygiene
  • Infection control
  • Paediatrics
  • Stethoscopes


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