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Bacterial contamination, bacterial profile and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of isolates from stethoscopes at Jimma University Specialized Hospital

Teklu Shiferaw2, Getenet Beyene1, Tesfaye Kassa1 and Tsegaye Sewunet1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Laboratory Science and Pathology, Jimma University, Jimma, -378, Ethiopia

2 Department of microbiology, Adama hospital medical college, Adama, P.o. box-84, Ethiopia

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Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2013, 12:39  doi:10.1186/1476-0711-12-39

Published: 13 December 2013



Hospital acquired infections are recognized as critical public health problems. Infections are frequently caused by organisms residing in healthcare environment, including contaminated medical equipment like Stethoscopes.


To determine bacterial contamination, bacterial profile and anti-microbial susceptibility pattern of the isolates from stethoscopes at Jimma University Specialized Hospital.


Cross-sectional study conducted from May to September 2011 at Jimma University Specialized Hospital. One hundred seventy-six stethoscopes owned by Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Medical students were randomly selected and studied. Self-administered structured questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic data. Specimen was collected using moisten sterile cotton swab and 1 ml normal saline was used to transport the specimen, all laboratory investigations were done following standard microbiological techniques, at Microbiology Laboratory, Jimma University. SPSS windows version 16 used for data analysis and P <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Result: A total, of 151 (85.8%) stethoscopes were contaminated. A total of 256 bacterial strains and a mean of 1.44Ɨ104 CFUs/diaphragm of stethoscopes was isolated. Of the 256 isolates, 133 (52%) were potential pathogens like S. aureus, Klebsiella spp., Citrobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Proteus spp., Enterobacter spp., P. aeruginosa and E. coli. All strains were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics (two to eight classes of antibiotics). Disinfection practice was poor. Disinfection practice was found to be associated with bacterial contamination of stethoscopes (Pā€‰<ā€‰0.05). High contamination rate 100 (90.9%) was observed among stethoscopes that had never been disinfected; while the least contamination 29 (72.2%) was found on those disinfected a week or less before the survey.


Bacterial contamination of the stethoscope was significant. The isolates were potential pathogens and resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics. Stethoscope is potential vehicle in the transmission of infections between patients and Healthcare Workers. Stethoscope diaphragm should be disinfected before and after each patient contact.