Medical News
November 2, 1964

Contaminated Hands Prime Suspect In Spread of Hospital Infections

JAMA. 1964;190(5):31-32. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070180087044

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Contaminated hands may be the prime factor in the spread of staphylococcal infection within the hospital, according to Robert I. Wise, MD, Magee Professor of Medicine and head of the Department of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

Knowledge of how infection is transmitted in the operating room is not yet clearly understood, Wise told a symposium on hospital-acquired infection at the fall meeting of the American College of Physicians in Los Angeles. "It appears logical that the entry of staphylococcus into the wound occurs before the wound is closed, and therefore begins in the operating room."

Among possible sources are the patient, surgeons, and nurses. "We know that staphylococci are carried into the operating room," Wise said. A study of the incidence of coagulase positive staphylococcus in the noses of 206 persons entering the operating room at Jefferson Hospital during a oneweek period revealed that 30% of the patients and

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