Tens of millions of filthy, used medical gloves imported into US

This article is over 4 months old About half of US patients have used dirty gloves, and since 2000, when virus was first identified, most of the socks that have been recorded have been…

Tens of millions of filthy, used medical gloves imported into US

This article is over 4 months old

About half of US patients have used dirty gloves, and since 2000, when virus was first identified, most of the socks that have been recorded have been exported

Tens of millions of filthy, used medical gloves imported into the US

About half of US patients have used dirty medical gloves, and since 2000, when the virus that causes the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) was first identified, most of the socks that have been recorded have been exported to other countries, according to new research.

The researchers estimate that up to 50m gloves have entered the country annually since the late 1990s, when the virus was discovered.

The study by the University of Leicester, Cambridge University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not include socks used by healthcare workers themselves, nor those found in hospital staff bathrooms. But all used medical gloves were examined.

Some of the gloves were found to be contaminated with Mers or other viruses. For instance, some of those found to be infected were “already infected” with the Dengue virus, for which gloves have to be used to protect healthcare workers.

Wearing gloves to protect against potential virus transmission is not advisable, the study says.

The CDC currently recommends everyone who is hospitalized get an anti-bacterial wipe as part of their prevention and treatment regimen, but it could be contaminated with the Mers virus itself. So instead, healthcare workers should use disposable paper gloves instead, the researchers say.

The researchers also recommend companies in the healthcare industry to stop sending dirty gloves to developing countries and sell them only to countries that ask for them, instead of using the services of third-party brokers or subcontractors.

“In the absence of any national policy to address the largest imported source of gloves, international regulations already regulate the use of gloves,” according to the study.

The researchers also recommend better hygiene training for healthcare staff, and also hand hygiene campaigns within hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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