Bacterial contamination of healthcare workers' uniforms: A randomized controlled trial of antimicrobial scrubs
Article first published online: 12 JUN 2013
© 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine
Journal of Hospital Medicine
Volume 8, Issue 7, pages 380–385, July 2013
How to Cite
Burden, M., Keniston, A., Frank, M. G., Brown, C. A., Zoucha, J., Cervantes, L., Weed, D., Boyle, K., Price, C. and Albert, R. K. (2013), Bacterial contamination of healthcare workers' uniforms: A randomized controlled trial of antimicrobial scrubs. J. Hosp. Med., 8: 380–385. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2051
- Issue published online: 16 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 12 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 APR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 1 APR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 18 JAN 2013
Healthcare workers' (HCWs) uniforms become contaminated with bacteria during normal use, and this may contribute to hospital-acquired infections. Antimicrobial uniforms are currently marketed as a means of reducing this contamination.
To compare the extent of bacterial contamination of uniforms and skin when HCWs wear 1 of 2 antimicrobial scrubs or standard scrubs.
Prospective, randomized, controlled trial.
University-affiliated, public safety net hospital
Hospitalist physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, housestaff, and nurses (total N = 105) working on internal medicine units.
Subjects were randomized to wear standard scrubs or 1 of 2 antimicrobial scrubs.
Bacterial colony counts in cultures taken from the HCWs' scrubs and wrists after an 8-hour workday.
The median (interquartile range) total colony counts was 99 (66–182) for standard scrubs, 137 (84–289) for antimicrobial scrub type A, and 138 (62–274) for antimicrobial scrub type B (P = 0.36). Colony counts from participants' wrists were 16 (5–40) when they wore standard scrubs and 23 (4–42) and 15 (6–54) when they wore antimicrobial scrubs A and B, respectively (P = 0.92). Resistant organisms were cultured from 3 HCWs (4.3%) randomized to antimicrobial scrubs and none randomized to standard scrubs (P = 0.55). Six participants (5.7%) reported side effects to wearing scrubs, all of whom wore antimicrobial scrubs (P = 0.18).
We found no evidence that either antimicrobial scrub product decreased bacterial contamination of HCWs' uniforms or skin after an 8-hour workday. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:380–385. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine