Assadian, Ojan, Leaper, David J., Kramer, A. and Ousey, Karen (2016) Can the design of glove dispensing boxes influence glove contamination? Journal of Hospital Infection, 94 (3). pp. 259-262. ISSN 0195-6701


Few studies have explored the microbial contamination of glove boxes in clinical settings. The objective of this observational study was to investigate whether a new glove packaging system in which gloves are dispensed one by one vertically with the cuff-end first has lower levels of contamination on the gloves and on the surface around the box aperture compared to conventional horizontally dispensed glove boxes.


Seven participating sites were provided with vertical glove dispensing systems and conventional boxes. Before opening boxes, the surface around the aperture was sampled microbiologically to establish base-line levels of superficial contamination. Once the boxes were opened, the first pair of gloves in each box were sampled for viable bacteria. Thereafter, testing sites were visited on a weekly basis over a period of six weeks and the same microbiological assessments made.


The surface surrounding the aperture of the modified dispenser boxes became significantly less contaminated than the conventional boxes (P < 0.001) with an average of 46.7% less contamination around the aperture. Overall, gloves from modified boxes showed significantly less colony-forming units contamination than gloves from conventional boxes (P < 0.001). Comparing all sites over the entire six-week period, modified dispensed gloves had 88.9% less bacterial contamination.


This simple improvement to glove box design reduces contamination of unused gloves. Such modifications could decrease the risk of microbial cross-transmission in settings that utilise gloves. However, such advantages do not substitute for strict hand-hygiene compliance and appropriate use of non-sterile, single-use gloves.

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