Clean your stethoscope between patients, doctors urged

Despite practicing regular hand hygiene, clinicians may still be putting patients at risk of infection by failing to clean their stethoscopes, researchers from the University of Melbourne say.

That iconic tool of the trade, the stethoscope, is often contaminated with pathogens such as staphylococcus and pseudomonas, their study carried out in Victorian EDs has revealed.

After swabbing 30 stethoscopes selected at random from ED staff, researchers found that 60% of swabs grew bacterial cultures, of which one in four were potential pathogens.

The most common micro-organisms cultured included