Doctors' Apparel Tied to Spread of Infection

Doctors are not known for making fashion statements especially in the type of neck ties they wear but you now have to look at their neck wear in a new way - as potentially dangerous.

A study at Queens Hospital, New York, discovered that 47% of the 42 ties worn by medical staff at the hospital harbored illness causing bacteria. Clinicians ties were eight times more infectious than security guards ties but does give cause for concern in a job were it is so important to minimize the microbes.

The study isolated some nasty bugs being carried around with them, 12 of the staff's ties carried staphylococcus aureus, five gram-negative bacteria, one tie carried aspergillus and two ties carried multiple pathogens. Out of the 10 security guard's ties, only one carried staphylococcus aureus.

The study backs up previous research findings where stethoscopes, pagers, pens and other doctors everyday equipment and work wear were tested and found to be harboring dangerous pathogens. And it is not just doctors. It said that all care staff in general need to change their habits.

So should doctors stop wearing a tie, a symbol of professionalism and efficiency? Well maybe so. This research is tying doctors to the spread of infection.

10/28/2005 ARTICLE