DETROIT (WWJ) – They’re a symbol of healing, but a new study finds one of the tools doctors use can be a magnet for bacteria.

The diaphragm of a stethoscope — the round piece placed against a patient’s body — can become filthy with antibiotic-resistant bacteria like potentially deadly MRSA, according to Swiss researchers.

In the study, doctors examined 71 patients using sterile gloves and a sterile stethoscope.

Researchers said the tube of the stethoscope also can become covered with bacteria, and the contamination level of both the diaphragm and the tube increases with the amount of bacteria on the doctor’s fingertips.

The study’s author said either the doctor or a staffer should clean the stethoscope after every use, and patients shouldn’t be shy about asking that it be wiped down.

Learn more about the research HERE.


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