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September 1965

Airborne Bacterial ContaminationInvestigation of Human Sources

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Bacteriology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. US Public Health Service Fellow in Surgery (Dr. Bernard).

Arch Surg. 1965;91(3):530-533. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320150160033

THIS PAPER describes results obtained from a continuation of observations9 which indicate that shower bathing increases the number of bacteria shed from the skin of human beings. The investigation of this phenomenon has provided answers to some of our questions about the mechanism of the shedding of skin bacteria. The elimination of this source of environmental bacterial contamination may well be vital to the safe performance of many surgical operations, and to the prevention of exogenous infection in unusually susceptible patients.

Methods  Figure 1 is a diagram of the preparation rooms and sampling chamber. Air was collected by means of a Casella Slit Sampler at the rate of 1 cu ft/min.* These samples were collected on blood agar, incubated overnight at 37 C and allowed to remain at room temperature for another 24 hours. The resulting colonies were counted with a Quebec Colony Counter. Staphylococcus aureus was identified

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