The desirability of excluding all types of vacuum cleaners from hospitals is disputed. The efficiency of one type of machine was tested by a variety of physical and bacteriological procedures, including the use of freshly generated aerosols of a standard strain of staphylococci. When fresh paper filter cones were used in the machine, penetration by the cocci never exceeded 0.49%, and when dust-coated filter cones were used, apparent arrestment of bacterial droplet nuclei rose to more than 99.99% The evidence did not justify an indiscriminate condemnation of vacuum cleaners as unfit for use in hospitals. It indicated, rather, that the machine tested was very efficient in many hospital situations when used by welltrained personnel. The observations also suggested various improvements in design (such as disposable containers for dirt) and operation (such as heat sterilization of dustladen canisters) that should be explored further.
Allen HF. AIR HYGIENE FOR HOSPITALS: I. ARRESTMENT OF AIRBORNE AND DUSTBORNE STAPHYLOCOCCI BY A HOSPITAL VACUUM CLEANER. JAMA. 1959;169(6):553–559. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03000230009003
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