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Journal of Radiography & Radiation Sciences

2018;  (v 1): 1-7


Disinfection of Ultrasound Transducers Using Non-Sterile Tissue Paper in Some Low-Cost Private Ultrasound Centres in Nigeria – Implications for Nosocomial Infection Management

Onwuzu SWI, Eze CU, Ike A, Abonyi OE, Asogwa K.

Copyright © 2017 The Association Of Radiographers Of Nigeria. All Rights Reserved.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

Background/Aims: The incidence of disease outbreaks in clinical settings arising from ultrasound examinations is well documented, and is a source of worry. The ultrasound transducers and the coupling gel are potential sources of these infections since they come in direct contact with the patient’s skin. In this study, we examine the efficacy of the widespread practice of the use of plain non-sterile tissue paper in some low-cost private ultrasound centres in our locality as a method of disinfecting ultrasound transducers after each use. Its potential impact on nosocomial infection management in clinical practice is also examined.

Methods: Swab samples from convex ultrasound transducers before and after transabdominal scanning of three consecutive patients were obtained from 10 different ultrasound centres in urban and rural areas of Enugu state. Ultrasound coupling gel samples were equally obtained, and all samples cultured for bacteria growth which was quantified in colony-forming units per ml (CFU/ml) and reported in 1000/ml. Paired sampled t-test was used to check for significance in a reduction in the bacterial load before and after the transducer was cleaned.

Results: Nine different bacterial strains were isolated. Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella spp had the highest percentage of occurrence in all centres. Significant bacteria growth was recorded in the morning before the examination, and plain tissue paper significantly reduced the bacteria load in the ultrasound transducer.

Conclusion: Even though disinfecting ultrasound transducers with non-sterile plain tissue paper alone is statistically effective and has the potential to minimize nosocomial infection, it is however not clinically effective and hence not advised.

Keywords: Nosocomial infection, contaminated gel, ultrasound transducers, Klebsiella, Nigeria

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