Infection prevention

Skin – source of the bacteria problem

By : Mölnlycke Health Care, May 24 2012Posted in: Infection prevention

Skin - the source of the problem

Disinfection is a major priority in all hospitals, which is why all surgical sites and operating rooms are sterile environments. However, one element of surgery cannot be sterilized by hospital staff: the patient.

Studies have shown that the patient’s own skin is responsible for most of the pathogens that cause SSIs.1 Up to 33 percent of the population naturally carry Staphylococcus aureus on their skin.2

In order to ensure a ‘clean surgery’, the patient is recommended to shower with an antiseptic soap to remove pathogens from the skin.3

Overall distribution of organisms reported as causing SSIs.4


  1. Brote L. 1976. wound infections in clean an potentially contaminated surgery. Acta Chir Scand. 142: 191-200
  2. Health Protection Agency, MRSA information for patients (
  3. AORN 2013 Guidelines
  4. Surveillance of Surgical Site infections in NHS hospitals in England, 2010/2011. Health Protection Agency HPA. 2011.
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