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An outbreak of post-operative sepsis due to a staphylococcal disperser

  • Elizabeth I. Tanner (a1), Judith Bullin (a1), C. H. Bullin (a1) and D. R. Gamble (a1)

Summary

A staphylococcal disperser employed as a theatre technician appeared to have been the source of 11 cases of wound sepsis over a period of about 3 years. He was primarily a nasal carrier and after attempts to eradicate Staphylococcus aureus from his nose failed, his skin dispersal was controlled by daily washing with 4% chlorhexidine detergent (‘Hibiscrub’) and he was allowed to resume his theatre duties under careful bacteriological surveillance. Over the following 2 years 173 dispersal tests showed a mean dispersal of 1·7 c.f.u. per 2800 I air compared with a mean of 152 c.f.u. per 2800 I air in the month immediately preceding treatment and 55 c.f.u. per 2800 I in the period after cessation of treatment. One case of wound sepsis was attributed to the technician during the 2 years in which he received skin disinfection treatment.

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References

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Ayliffe, O. A. J., Babb, J. A. & Collins, B. J. (1974). Dispersal of Staphylococcus aureus. Lancet ii, 1573.
Blair, J. E. & Williams, R. E. O. (1961). Phago typing of staphylococci. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 24, 771–84.
Hill, J., Howell, A. & Blowers, R. (1974). Effect of clothing on dispersal of Staphylococcus aureus by males and females. Lancet ii, 1131–3.
Lowbury, E. J. L. & Lilly, H. A. (1973). Use of 4% chlorhexidine detergent solution (‘Hibiscrub’) and other methods of skin disinfection. British Medical Journal i, 510–15.
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White, A. (1961). Relation between quantitative nasal cultures and dissemination of staphylococci. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 58, 273–7.
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An outbreak of post-operative sepsis due to a staphylococcal disperser

  • Elizabeth I. Tanner (a1), Judith Bullin (a1), C. H. Bullin (a1) and D. R. Gamble (a1)

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