Stethoscopes 'more contaminated' than doctor's hands

Dirty stethoscopes may be contributing to spread dangerous bugs around GP surgeries and hospital wards, according to a new study.

One stethoscope was found to be more contaminated with bacteria than the palm of a doctor's hand after being used to examine 71 patients.

Study finds dirty stethoscopes may be helping to spread dangerous bugs around GP surgeries and hospital wards Credit: Press Association

Among the microbes spreading from patients was the potentially deadly superbug MRSA.

The stethoscope's diaphragm, the part of the instrument that is pressed onto a patient's skin, was more heavily contaminated than all parts of the doctor's hand, except the fingertips.

The study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also found the stethoscope's tube was covered in more bugs than the back of the doctor's hand.

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