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Article
November 28, 1959

HOSPITAL SEPSIS—A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE

JAMA. 1959;171(13):1869-1872. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73010310024028

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Abstract

This film is sponsored by the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Hospital Association. It shows how bacterial infections are spread in hospitals and how they can be controlled. The age of antisepsis, introduced by Lister, succeeded in minimizing cross-infections. However, since the therapeutic revolution of antibiotics, our guard is down. Again, many of our hospitals are reservoirs of uncontrolled infection, now complicated by the problem of antibiotic resistance.

The film depicts the ecology of hospital sepsis as it applied to a patient admitted for the treatment of a carbuncle. There was a 10-year history of boils. Bacteriophage typing confirmed the source of the staphylococci as being from this patient. Extensive bacteriological studies demonstrate how the organisms are spread.

Housekeeping factors, medical care, and the human factor in the environment are all shown to be important in the spread of organisms from a single room

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