Healthcare workers often use gloves to avoid direct contact with contaminated surfaces and for hygiene purposes. But theses gloves are found to be a potential sources of cross contamination harboring millions of pathogenic microorganisms.In a study it was found that when nurses touched surfaces such as bed rails, blood pressure cuffs, computer keyboards, door knobs, over-bed tables, patient gowns and linens, their glove became contaminated 42 percent of the time. Gloves have been implicated in the transmission of Clostridium difficile . Clostridium difficile, commonly called C. difficile, is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and other serious intestinal conditions. It is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients .C. difficile is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and long-term care facilities.This bacteria is found in feces. People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with fecal traces, then touch their mouth or nose.The use of antibiotics increases the chances of developing C. difficile diarrhea because antibiotics alter the normal levels of good bacteria found in the intestines and colon. When there are fewer good bacteria, C. difficile can thrive and produce toxins that can cause an infection. In hospital and long-term care settings, the combination of a number of people receiving antibiotics and the presence of C. difficile can lead to frequent outbreaks.A study in Quebec showed that a stronger strain of the bacteria may be present in hospitals in the province. The study found that C. difficile was indirectly responsible for 108 deaths during a six-month period. While many of these patients were seniors and other factors contributed to their deaths, younger patients were also affected
There are two major potential reservoirs of C. difficile in hospitals — the infected patient and contaminated inanimate objects. “One critical item that readily becomes contaminated and easily contaminates other items are gloves. The contaminated surface of a glove is unfortunately a great way for C. difficile to be transported from one place to another. Healthcare workers wearing gloves contaminated with C. diff as they do their job can spread it by simply typing in patient information on a keyboard or patient chart, using the phone or opening the door. According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new pair of gloves should be used for every patient to avoid cross-contamination.It is commonly noticed that some heathcare workers washed their gloved hands between patients instead of donning a fresh pair. This can potentially be a source of cross contamination from one patient to another.
Hospitals have to focus on regularly touched surfaces as part of their daily cleaning program.At the same time its important to raise the awareness among healthcare workers that infection-control methods such as these are important in controlling healthcare-aqcuired infection.