Potential infection control risks associated with ultrasound equipment: A bacterial perspective

Susan Campbell Westerway, Jocelyne M. Basseal, Adam Brockway, Jon A. Hyett, Dee A. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasound equipment used in trans-abdominal (TA) and trans-vaginal (TV) examination may carry bacterial contamination and pose risks to infection control during ultrasound examination. We aimed to describe the prevalence of bacterial contamination on ultrasound probes, gel, machine keyboard and cords and examined the effectiveness of low- and high-level disinfection techniques. This study was performed at a public hospital and a private practice. A total of 171 swabs were analyzed and bacterial species were identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) analysis and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sixty percent of TA probes and 14% of TV probes had evidence of bacterial contamination after an ultrasound examination. Low-level disinfection was partially effective, but 4% of probes were still contaminated by spore-forming species. Some heated gel samples were highly contaminated with the environmental bacterium Brevundimonas aurantiaca, suggesting the gel was conducive to bacterial growth. Ultrasound machines, probe cords and gels were identified as potential sources of bacterial contamination and need to be cleaned and changed regularly to minimize risks of infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2017


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