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Pyjamas and sheets as a potential source of nosocomial pathogens

      It is recognised that the most important and frequent mode of transmission of nosocomial infections is through direct contact between a susceptible host and an infected or colonised person. Direct contact is mainly attributed to healthcare workers who do not wash their hands effectively before attending patients. Additionally, susceptible hosts may be infected indirectly via intermediate objects, such as contaminated instruments, needles, dressings, or gloves.
      • Gastmeier P.
      • Stamm-Balderjahn S.
      • Hansen S.
      • et al.
      Where should one search when confronted with outbreaks of nosocomial infection?.
      A healthcare worker who touches pathogens on contaminated surfaces can then transport these pathogens to patients by the contact route. Indeed, the sources of contamination in 21.1% of 1561 nosocomial outbreaks studied have been attributed to contaminated surfaces.
      • Gastmeier P.
      • Stamm-Balderjahn S.
      • Hansen S.
      • et al.
      Where should one search when confronted with outbreaks of nosocomial infection?.
      Importantly, most common nosocomial pathogens may persist on surfaces for months and can thereby be a continuous source of transmission.
      • Kramer A.
      • Schwebke I.
      • Kampf G.
      How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review.
      Another form of contact spread is via endogenous transmission of the patient's own flora from one part of the host's body to another.
      • Kropec A.
      • Huebner J.
      • Riffel M.
      • et al.
      Exogenous or endogenous reservoirs of nosocomial Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus infections in a surgical intensive care unit.
      Recently, the notion that airborne transmission of bacteria contributes significantly to hospital-acquired infections is gaining recognition.
      • Beggs C.B.
      The airborne transmission of infection in hospital buildings: fact or fiction?.
      Although a better understanding of how nosocomial pathogens are transmitted and more rigorous infection control measures are being implemented, it is clear that the current modalities to reduce nosocomial infections are not sufficient, as the rates of nosocomial infections, especially those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are increasing alarmingly worldwide.
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      References

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        • Stamm-Balderjahn S.
        • Hansen S.
        • et al.
        Where should one search when confronted with outbreaks of nosocomial infection?.
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        • Schwebke I.
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        How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review.
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        • Huebner J.
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        • et al.
        Exogenous or endogenous reservoirs of nosocomial Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus infections in a surgical intensive care unit.
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        The airborne transmission of infection in hospital buildings: fact or fiction?.
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