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RSV Detected on Parents’ Clothing in NICU

Although detection rate is low

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The clothing of parents and visitors may spread respiratory infections to infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), new research suggests. The study was presented at the International Conference on Emerging and Infectious Diseases, held from Aug. 24 to 26 in Atlanta.

Four percent of swabs taken from the personal clothing of caregivers and visitors in the NICU at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney had detectable respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The investigators also found RSV on 9 percent of high-touch areas in the NICU, including nurses’ computers, chairs next to infants’ beds, and bed rails. RSV was not detected on the hands of doctors, nurses, or visitors in the NICU.

“Though the detection rate is low, personal clothing of caregivers/visitors [does] get contaminated with RSV,” study author Nusrat Homaira, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said in an American Society for Microbiology news release.

“There is a need for further research to evaluate how long the virus remains infectious on personal clothing, which will have policy implications in terms of need for use of separate gowns by the visitors while they are in the NICU,” Homaira said.

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