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Paper Is a Viable Medium for Cross-Contamination(2)

Paper Is a Viable Medium for Cross Contamination Clinicians routinely examine patient records in the operatory, sometimes while wearing gloves after performing procedures. As it turns out, this can be hazardous to the health of patients and office staff. According

Paper Is a Viable Medium for Cross-Contamination 
 
Clinicians routinely examine patient records in the operatory, sometimes while wearing gloves after performing procedures. As it turns out, this can be hazardous to the health of patients and office staff. According to a new German study, bacterial pathogens can be transferred from hands to paper, and then back to hands. The research, published in the American Journal of Nursing’s December issue, examined how long Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus hirae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa could survive on paper—and whether contaminated paper can readily serve as a medium for cross-contamination.  
 
Test results revealed these pathogens can remain stable on paper for up to 72 hours, and remain transmissible for up to 1 week—a worrisome thought for dental offices that use paper charts, patient files, and reports. Even practices that utilize electronic records aren’t immune from this threat, because notes, books, magazines, and newspapers are still present in operatories.  
 
“Paper can serve as a vehicle for cross-contamination by bacterial pathogens if current recommendations on hand hygiene aren’t meticulously followed,” wrote the study’s authors. In order to avert risk of exposure to potentially dangerous microbes, hand hygiene protocols should be rigorously followed to ensure the health of clinicians, office staff, and patients.   
 
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