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Too Many or Too Few Hands?

Peter Heseltine , MD
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 20, No. 9 (September 1999), pp. 595-597
DOI: 10.1086/501676
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Page Count: 3
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Too Many or Too Few Hands?
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EXCERPT In 1975, Haley investigated a series of neonatal infections at a large municipal hospital and determined that understaffing and overcrowding had contributed significantly to the outbreak.1 Almost 25 years later, though intuitive to infection control practitioners, surprisingly little controlled evidence exists to support this concept. The paper by Harbath et al in this issue identifies and measures the effects of understaffing, overcrowding, and handwashing on an outbreak of Enterobacter cloacae in a neonatal intensive care unit (ICU).2 The authors conclude that these factors had a primary role in sustaining the outbreak, which was only brought under control when they were changed.

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