Gowns and Gloves Ineffective at Controlling Infection? Not So Fast
Feb 13, 2018 12:00 AM
Gloves and Gowns Ineffective at Controlling Infection? Not So Fast
Donning gloves and wearing gowns – also called contact precaution - has long been a standard practice for limiting transmission of infectious pathogens, such as MRSA, in health care settings. Recently, it has been brought to light that there is no good clinical trial evidence to show CP are effective, implying that it is not always necessary.
That message is dangerous, says Michael Rubin, a professor of epidemiology at University of Utah Health and a clinician at the VA Salt Lake City Health System. Contact precaution has had, and continues to have, an important role in infection control and clinical care.
In a Viewpoint published online in JAMA on February 12, Rubin and his colleague Matthew Samore and Anthony Harris from University of Maryland, explain that design flaws in the published trials limit the conclusions drawn from the work. For example, results documenting rates of infection did not account for infections manifested after a patient was transferred from the facility being studied, or infections acquired before the patients arrived. Nor did the research consider the flow of patients from facilities that may have employed different infection control strategies.
The authors make a call for better designed research, and stress that changing practice based on incomplete and small studies will make the already significant problem of controlling the spread of infection worse, not better.