Hospital nurses’ uniforms are a breeding ground for potentially dangerous bacteria, study authors have warned.
Nearly two thirds of samples taken from the uniforms of registered nurses tested positive for potentially harmful infections including MRSA.
Israeli researchers at a 550-bed hospital in Jerusalem collected samples from three areas on the uniforms of 75 nurses and 60 doctors, who also completed questionnaires.
More than half, 58%, claimed to change their uniform every day and 77% described the cleanliness of their garment as fair to excellent.
The research team collected 238 samples by pressing culture plates on the pockets, sleeves and the front of uniforms.
The study, published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, found 65% tested positive for potentially disease-causing bacteria with 21 samples containing drug resistant strains like MRSA.
Clothes that were changed every other day were more seriously contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than those changed every day, researchers found.
They said: “Any clothing that is worn by humans will become contaminated with microorganisms. The cornerstone of infection prevention remains the use of hand hygiene to prevent the movement of microbes from these surfaces to patients.”