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Respiratory viruses on personal protective equipment and bodies of healthcare workers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2019

Linh T. Phan
Affiliation:
Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Ilinois
Dagmar Sweeney
Affiliation:
Sequencing Core, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Dayana Maita
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Donna C. Moritz
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Susan C. Bleasdale
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Rachael M. Jones*
Affiliation:
Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Ilinois
*
Author for correspondence: Rachael M. Jones, Email: rachael.jones@utah.edu

Abstract

Objective:

To characterize the magnitude of virus contamination on personal protective equipment (PPE), skin, and clothing of healthcare workers (HCWs) who cared for patients having acute viral infections.

Design:

Prospective observational study.

Setting:

Acute-care academic hospital.

Participants:

A total of 59 HCWs agreed to have their PPE, clothing, and/or skin swabbed for virus measurement.

Methods:

The PPE worn by HCW participants, including glove, face mask, gown, and personal stethoscope, were swabbed with Copan swabs. After PPE doffing, bodies and clothing of HCWs were sampled with Copan swabs: hand, face, and scrubs. Preamplification and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods were used to quantify viral RNA copies in the swab samples.

Results:

Overall, 31% of glove samples, 21% of gown samples, and 12% of face mask samples were positive for virus. Among the body and clothing sites, 21% of bare hand samples, 11% of scrub samples, and 7% of face samples were positive for virus. Virus concentrations on PPE were not statistically significantly different than concentrations on skin and clothing under PPE. Virus concentrations on the personal stethoscopes and on the gowns were positively correlated with the number of torso contacts (P < .05). Virus concentrations on face masks were positively correlated with the number of face mask contacts and patient contacts (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Healthcare workers are routinely contaminated with respiratory viruses after patient care, indicating the need to ensure that HCWs complete hand hygiene and use other PPE to prevent dissemination of virus to other areas of the hospital. Modifying self-contact behaviors may decrease the presence of virus on HCWs.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© 2019 by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. All rights reserved. 

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Footnotes

PREVIOUS PRESENTATION: Aspects of these data were presented at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo on May 21, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

References

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