IV catheter securement warning: rolls of tape may be contaminated

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Intravenous news: The Newcastle Herald report “Everyday surgical tape used to fix cannulas and wound dressings could be exposing hospital patients to a cocktail of dangerous superbugs, a Hunter study has found. The discovery that surgical tapes in some Hunter New England hospitals were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including golden staph, has prompted calls for new packaging and handling procedures. Hunter New England Local Health District said yesterday it had no evidence of patient infection due to contaminated surgical tape. However, tape packaging changes were being explored.

The findings, by Hunter Area Pathology Service researchers, are published in a letter to the latest Medical Journal of Australia. They collected partially used surgical tape rolls from several clinical areas in three Hunter New England hospitals. Using hands disinfected with alcohol gel, the researchers placed batches of several tape rolls in 21 clean collection bags. The samples were placed in sterile containers, incubated and subcultured to detect superbugs. Methicillin-resistan t Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), commonly known as golden staph, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) were identified in 11 of the 21 tape batches. All batches showed evidence of contamination with other bacteria. The researchers said the results indicated that surgical adhesive tapes were frequently contaminated with multi-resistant organisms.

The tape is frequently used to fix items such as intravenous cannulas, surgical drains and wound dressings.

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