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May 1973

Infection Hazard From Patient-Electrodes

Am J Dis Child. 1973;125(5):768. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.04160050106025

To the Editor.  —Although infections due to Staphylococcus aureus have been decreasing in recent years, there exists a potential for disease particularly in infants under 1 year of age.During a one-month period (June-July 1972), 150 electrocardiographic electrodes obtained from various divisions of the pediatric department of Mt. Sinai Hospital were sampled for bacterial colonization by direct impression on 5% sheep blood agar plates. After overnight incubation at 37 C, the plates were examined for the presence of growth. Colonies indicative of staphylococci were further isolated and characterized. Coagulase-positive strains were tested by the disk-agar diffusion technique for their susceptibility to penicillin (2 and 10 units), oxacillin (1μg), tetracycline (5μg), cephalothin (30μg), erythromycin (2μg and 15μg), neomycin )5μg), lincomycin (2μg), and vancomycin (5μg). Twenty patient-electrodes which were cultured after simple wiping with 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs were evaluated in a similar fashion.A majority of the untreated patient-electrodes showed predominant