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Hospital workers may be 'superspreaders'

October 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new study suggests that health care workers who see many patients on a daily basis may be contributing to the spread of dangerous infections in hospitals.The findings are based on a mathematical model. Researchers wanted to see how easily infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) could hypothetically spread.

They looked at three groups of hospital workers. Those who saw a small number of patients often, those who infrequently saw a larger number of patients and those who had single daily contact with all patients.

They found infection rates increased by as much as three fold when workers in the last category did not wash their hands. Those include physical therapists.

The study was conducted by the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris.

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