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September 1962

Transmission of Staphylococci Between Newborns: Importance of the Hands of Personnel

Author Affiliations

Edward A. Mortimer, Jr., M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, 3395 Scranton Rd., Cleveland 9, Ohio.; Markle Scholar in Medical Science (Dr. Mortimer).; From the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine, Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(3):289-295. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030291012

Previous studies 1 of the transmission of staphylococci to newborn infants suggested that organisms on the hands of personnel carriers are more important than organisms expelled into the air from the respiratory tracts of such carriers. In addition, these studies provided evidence which indicates that the air is not a major route of spread of organisms between infants.

The fact that organisms nonetheless do spread readily from one infant to another suggests that the hands of personnel may play a role in the transport of staphylococci between infants. The present studies were

designed to test the effectiveness of handwashing by nursery personnel in preventing the spread of organisms between infants and thus to provide indirect evidence regarding the importance of this mode of spread. In addition, an attempt was made to test the role of the airborne route in the transmission of staphylococci among newborns. In order to provide results