Spring 2013 – Potential Pathogen Transmission on Medical Student Anatomy Laboratory Clothing

Potential Pathogen Transmission on Medical Student Anatomy Laboratory Clothing.
Chandan J. Kabadi1, Carroll R. Smith III1, Fernando Gomez2*

Author Affiliations:
1American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Cupecoy, St. Maarten
2Department of Pathology, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Cupecoy, St. Maarten

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*Corresponding author: Fernando Gomez MD; fgomez[at]aucmed.edu
Key Words: Pathogen Transmission; Infectious Precautions; White Coat; Medical Students; Contamination; Cadaver.
Introduction: Despite great advances in the fields of medicine and sanitation, nosocomial infections remain a very common and serious issue. Many of these problems can be avoided by simple hand washing; however, pathogenic microbes can spread through other modes too. In our study, we aim to determine if the setting of an open cadaver laboratory was conducive to the transmission of pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Enterococcus faecalis. Methods: For this investigation, 67 volunteer medical students had their laboratory coats swabbed and sampled during their time in anatomy laboratory class. Each coat was sampled prior to cadaver contact and at the end of their time in the laboratory, which coincided with the exploration of the gastrointestinal tract. Results: We found that pathogens were present on the laboratory coats of the students. An increase in each of the three microbes for which we tested was detected at the end of the anatomy laboratory course on the garments of the participants. There were six more student laboratory coats with S. aureus in the post-dissection swabbing and there were three more student laboratory coats with S. pyogenesin the post-dissection swabbing than originally documented. E. faecalis was found on four student laboratory coats in the post-dissection swabbing compared to none pre-dissection. Discussion: From these results, we conclude that stronger infection control measures are warranted to prevent the occurrence of unnecessary disease transmission in this setting. Our study provides data that support further investigation of potential pathogen transmission by student laboratory clothing and supports the use of universal infection control procedures to provide safer
environments for medical students and their contacts, including laundering protocols for coats.

Published: May 31, 2013
Senior Editor: Jon Zande
Junior Editor: Kailyne Van Stavern
DOI: Pending
Kabadi CJ, Smith III CR, Gomez F. Potential Pathogen Transmission on Medical Student Anatomy Laboratory Clothing. Medical Student Research Journal. 2013;2(Spring):30-35.
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Kevin Patterson

Executive Editor
Kevin Charles Patterson is a fourth year medical student at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. He is in his eighth year at MSU after graduating with a B.S. in Human Biology and a B.S. in Microbiology, both in 2010. He is considering a career in internal medicine with a combined scientist training program in residency; after residency, his plans include the possibility of a fellowship and the ultimate goal of practicing academic medicine. Editor Note (2013-14): Kevin graduated, matched, and is a resident in Internal Medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.