Bacterial ecology of hospital workers' facial hair: a cross-sectional study

Published:March 28, 2014DOI:


      It is unknown whether healthcare workers' facial hair harbours nosocomial pathogens. We compared facial bacterial colonization rates among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair. Workers with facial hair were less likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureus (41.2% vs 52.6%, P = 0.02) and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (2.0% vs 7.0%, P = 0.01). Colonization rates with Gram-negative organisms were low for all healthcare workers, and Gram-negative colonization rates did not differ by facial hair type. Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.


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      • Facial hair – what about clinical microbiology technicians?
        Journal of Hospital InfectionVol. 93Issue 3
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          In 2014 Wakeam et al. in this journal published their results from a cross-sectional study which compared facial bacterial colonization rates of potential nosocomial significance among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair.1 All participants in this study had routine direct patient contact. They found that workers with facial hair were significantly less likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureus, including meticillin-resistant S. aureus, and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci.
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