Pierced earring holes can be a source of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) via cross-transmission of bacteria from the holes to nurses’ fingers, this study finds.
For this analysis, earlobes and fingers of 200 nurses (128 with pierced ears and 72 unpierced) working at a university hospital in Japan were sampled.
Of the 128 with pierced ears, Staphylococcus aureus was recovered from earlobes of 24 nurses (18.8%), compared with 7 of 72 nurses (9.7%) without pierced ears.
Of 15 nurses with S aureus recovered from both earlobes and fingers, 12 were from nurses with pierced ears and 3 were from nurses without pierced ears.
Except for 1 nurse, genotypes of S aureus were identical for both earlobes and fingers.