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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1998 Sep 15;45(1):47-50.

Aurioscope earpieces--a potential vector of infection?

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Pediatric Ambulatory Centre, Department of Family Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Petach Tikvah, Israel.



to determine whether non disposable aurioscope earpieces used in community paediatric clinics harbored pathogenic micro-organisms, and to explore primary pediatrician perception of the possibility of cross infection from contaminated aurioscope earpieces and of how their aurioscope earpieced are cleaned.


randomized survey.


four community pediatric clinics.


42 pediatricians' aurioscope earpieces were cultured on blood agar and mannitol-salt-agar plates by two methods: (1) The earpieces were rolled for 5 s onto blood agar plates (TSA + 5% sheep blood, and a mannitol-salt-agar-plate). (2) The entire surface of the earpiece was swabbed with a sterile cotton tipped applicator moistened in sterile saline solution and was inoculated immediately onto a blood agar plate, and a mannitol-salt-agar-plate. The plates were incubated at 37 degrees C for 48 h and examined for colony growth at 24 and 48 h of incubation. Culture results were recorded as mean numbers of colony-forming units (CFUs).


36 from 42 (86%) of the aurioscope earpieces were colonized by micro-organisms. Heavily contaminated earpieces were found in six (14%). Staphylococci were isolated from 27 (64%) of the earpieces: 19 (45%) being Staphylococci aureus coagulase positive, 4 (9%) were methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA).


Non disposable earpieces can harbor potentially pathogenic bacteria including MRSA. The increased trend for children with immunodeficiency to be managed in an ambulatory setting, often by physicians who also work in hospital, might be a risk of spreading potentially serious infections to such patients. Non disposable earpieces should be regularly disinfected to minimize the spread of infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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