(CBS News) The stethoscope is one of the most important and perhaps the most recognizable of all tools used by health care professionals. But new research finds they are often crawling with bacteria, including some germs that can cause serious infections.
The study, published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, found that Staphylococcus, the bacteria responsible for staph infections, was found in abundance on many stethoscopes, with more than half of the devices having confirmed contamination with the bacteria.
Other bacteria that can lead to health care-associated infections, including Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter, were also found on many of the stethoscopes, though in small quantities.
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