Does What Happens in Clinic, Stay in Clinic?

Davidson, Taylor, Erica Lewandowski, Meghan Smerecki, Halee Stratton, Jamal Alhabeil, and Eric Krukonis

The purpose of this investigation is to improve the knowledge of dental professionals on bacterial species they are unknowingly bringing home with them after a day in clinic to prevent cross contamination to the environment. The American Journal of Infection Control states that there is a growing body of data implicating healthcare worker’s uniforms as a potential reservoir of pathogenic organisms. This research study utilized both a survey and an in vitro analysis of bacterial contamination. A five item survey completed by a judgmental sample of 30 dental and dental hygiene students (IRB Protocol #1516-29) revealed that 70% strongly agreed they would be more apt to take better precautions if they were aware how much bacteria they take home with them after a day in clinic. For in vitro analysis, twenty-three samples were taken from sterile scrub patches pinned on clinic scrubs on the thigh area and on hair bands of dental and dental hygiene students to collect bacteria during a typical clinic day. Over 16 species of bacteria were identified by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene and included multiple Staphylococci species, Streptococcus pneumoniae or mitis, Neisseria meningitides or mucosa, Enterococcus faecalis, and b-hemolytic species. Most of the species identified on the samples were common microbes that can be found on the skin. However, a few samples revealed pathogens present which could be possibly cross-contaminated to the wider community.