The effect of improved compliance with hygiene guidelines on transmission of Staphylococcus aureus to newborn infants: the Swedish Hygiene Intervention and Transmission of S aureus study

Am J Infect Control. 2013 Jul;41(7):585-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.09.014. Epub 2013 Jan 23.


Background: Newborn infants are often colonized with Staphylococcus aureus originating from health care workers (HCWs). We therefore use colonization with S aureus of newborn infants to determine the effect of an improved compliance with hygiene guidelines on bacterial transmission.

Methods: Compliance with hygiene guidelines was monitored prior to (baseline) and after (follow-up) a multimodal hygiene intervention in 4 departments of obstetrics and gynecology. spa typing was used to elucidate transmission routes of S aureus collected from newborn infants, mothers, fathers, staff members, and environment.

Results: The compliance with hygiene guidelines increased significantly from baseline to follow-up. The transmission of S aureus from HCWs to infants was however not affected. Fathers had the highest colonization rates. Persistent carriage was indicated in 18% of the HCWs. The most commonly isolated spa type was t084, which was not detected in a previous study from the same geographic area.

Conclusion: It is possible to substantially improve the compliance with hygiene guidelines, by using multimodal hygiene intervention. The improved compliance did not decrease the transmission of S aureus from sources outside the own family to newborn infants. Furthermore, we show the establishment of a new spa type (t084), which now is very common in our region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Cross Infection / transmission*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission*
  • Sweden