The bacterial contamination of surgical scrubs.

Chad A. Krueger*, Clinton K. Murray, Katrin Mende, Charles H. Guymon, Tad L. Gerlinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


To our knowledge, no study has examined the bacterial profile of residents' scrubs. The goal of this investigation was to determine the bacterial profile of worn and unworn resident scrubs. Thirty pairs of scrubs were swabbed in 10 predetermined locations both prior to and after being worn continuously by the on-call resident. All swabs were screened for aerobic gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Bacteria underwent antimicrobial resistance testing and genetic relatedness by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Forty-one percent (123) of unworn scrub samples yielded bacteria, compared with 89% (268) of post-call scrub samples. On unworn scrubs, the most common organisms were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CNS; 94), gram positive rods (GPR; 34) and Streptococcus viridians (8). On post-call scrubs, the most common bacteria were CNS (271), micrococcus (51), Staphylococcus aureus (33), and GPR (28). All S. aureus were methicillin susceptible. There were different species, pulse-field types and antibiotic resistance profiles found amongst the CNS identified. No scrubs were found to harbor multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms. This study found that unworn scrubs harbored normal skin flora and scrubs worn for at least 24 hours have a higher burden of bacteria than unworn scrubs but not an increased incidence of contamination with MDR organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E69-73
JournalAmerican journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


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