Adhesive tape connected to hospital infections

July 27, 1999

Adhesive tape used to secure intravenous catheters may transmit bacteria that contribute to hospital infections, according to a University of Toronto study in the current edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers found that 74 per cent of adhesive tape specimens collected in a teaching hospital were colonized by pathogenic bacteria -- germs that can contribute to serious diseases. However, once the outer layer of tape was removed, only five per cent of specimens had significant bacterial growth.

"In the grand scheme of things, infections are a function of many other things with the patient and bacteria can be found almost anywhere. But it appears that discarding the outer layer of tape is one simple way of reducing the risk of bacterial infection," says Dr. Don Redelmeier, associate professor of medicine at U of T and de Souza chair in trauma clinical research at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre.

Rates of contamination were similar in different parts of the hospital, with the emergency, nephrology and hematology-oncology wards having the highest levels.
-end-
CONTACT:
Steven de Sousa
U of T Public Affairs
416-978-5949
e-mail: steven.desousa@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto

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