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Australas J Ultrasound Med. 2015 Aug;18(3):96-99. doi: 10.1002/j.2205-0140.2015.tb00207.x. Epub 2015 Dec 31.

The importance of infection prevention and control in medical ultrasound.

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Nanosonics Limited Lane Cove West New South Wales Australia.
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and the Penn State Cancer Institute Penn State College of Medicine Hershey Pennsylvania United States.
East Melbourne Ultrasound East Melbourne Victoria Australia.


Infection control and prevention is critical to delivering safe and high-quality care to patients undergoing sonographic procedures. In Australia comprehensive standards for reprocessing of ultrasound probes are based on the AS/NZS, TGA and ASUM recommendations. These standards align with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. However compliance to these guidelines is not ideal and there exists an unmet need for refinement of the guidelines relating to specific factors in clinical sonography. Significant microbiological evidence exists reflecting the increased risk of infection transmission specifically through inadequately reprocessed ultrasound probes. Studies have reported > 80% of transvaginal ultrasound probe handles are contaminated with disease causing pathogens since handle disinfection is omitted from standard reprocessing protocols. Significantly, it was recently discovered that widely-used high level disinfectants referred to in guidelines are unable to kill HPV while it is becoming increasingly apparent that attention must be paid to the clinical sonography environment as a potential source of nosocomial pathogens. Ultrasound probe reprocessing guidelines and standards are comprehensive however the challenge is in general awareness and effective implementation into practice. As future research in this area is performed, guidelines will need to be amenable to revision to provide patients with the best standard of care.


Australian guidelines; HPV; disinfection; handles; infection control; ultrasound

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