Bacterial ecology of hospital workers' facial hair: a cross-sectional study

J Hosp Infect. 2014 May;87(1):63-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


It is unknown whether healthcare workers' facial hair harbours nosocomial pathogens. We compared facial bacterial colonization rates among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair. Workers with facial hair were less likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureus (41.2% vs 52.6%, P = 0.02) and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (2.0% vs 7.0%, P = 0.01). Colonization rates with Gram-negative organisms were low for all healthcare workers, and Gram-negative colonization rates did not differ by facial hair type. Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.

Keywords: Bacterial ecology; Facial hair; Healthcare workers; Hospital-acquired infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Biota*
  • Carrier State / epidemiology
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hair / microbiology*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult