Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology


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Indexed in KCI, KoreaMed, Synapse, DOAJ
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pISSN 2288-0585 eISSN 2288-6850

Nosocomial Infectious Bacterial Contamination on Residents’ White Coats and Neckties

Original article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2009 March, Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 43-47.

Nosocomial Infectious Bacterial Contamination on Residents’ White Coats and Neckties

Yong-Kyun Kim1, Jae-Seok Kim1,3, Hyoung-Sun Lee2, Hyun-Sook Koo3, Han-Sung Kim1, Wonkeun Song1, Ji Young Park1, Hae-Ran Lee4, Hyoun Chan Cho1, Kyu Man Lee1
Departments of 1Laboratory Medicine and 4Pediatrics, Hallym University College of Medicine, Departments of 2Laboratory Medicine and 3Infection Control Unit, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea


Background: Doctors’ white coats and neckties can become contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria and have a possibility of causing cross infections. Our objective was to determine the level of bacterial contamination and detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile present on the white coats and neckties of residents. 

Methods: We sampled 28 long-sleeved white coats and 14 neckties worn by residents. The tested sites for white coats were the cuffs and lower front surfaces, and for neckties, the lower surfaces. Impressions of these sites were taken with the plates containing blood agar (BAP), mannitol salt agar supplemented with oxacillin (6μg/mL), enterococcus screening agar supplemented with vancomycin (6μg/mL) and phenyl ethanol agar. The colonies grown on each plate were Gram stained and identified by standard microbiological methods. 

Results: Of the 28 white coats, 7 (25.0%) carried MRSA, and of the 14 neckties, 1 (7.1%) carried MRSA. The majority of white coats (96.4%) and all neckties (100.0%) carried methicillin-resistant coagulase negative staphylococci (MRCNS). None of the white coats and neckties carried VRE or C. difficile. 

Conclusion: Our results showed that white coats and neckties worn by residents were contaminated with MRSA and MRCNS. The preventive measures for clothing-borne cross contamination should be considered, especially when performing invasive procedures or having close contact with patients. (Korean J Clin Microbiol 2009;12:43-47)


White coat, Necktie, Methicillin-resistant S. aureus, Methicillin-resistant coagulase negative staphylococci, Contamination