Bacterial Contamination of Medical Doctors and Students White Coats at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania

Josephat Qaday, Margaretha Sariko, Adam Mwakyoma, Emmanuel Kifaro, Dominick Mosha, Richard Tarimo, Balthazar Nyombi, and Elichilia Shao
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Background. Microbial transmission from patient to patient has been linked to transient colonization of health care workers attires. Contamination of health care workers’ clothing including white coats may play a big role in transmission of microbes.

Study Objective. This study was conducted to determine the type of bacterial contamination on the white coats of medical doctors and students and associated factors.

Methods. A cross-sectional study with purposive sampling of the bacterial contamination of white coats was undertaken. Demographic variables and white coats usage details were captured: when the coat was last washed, frequency of washing, washing agents used, and storage of the white coats. Swabs were collected from the mouth of left and right lower pockets, sleeves, and lapels of white coat in sterile techniques.

Results. Out of 180 participants involved in the current study, 65.6% were males. Most of the coats were contaminated by staphylococci species and other bacteria such as Gram negative rods.

Conclusion and Recommendations. White coats are potential source of cross infection which harbour bacterial agents and may play a big role in the transmission of nosocomial infection in health care settings. Effort should be made to discourage usage of white coats outside clinical areas.