Doctors' neckties may transmit illness, AMA says

For a while now, U.S. infection control experts have mulled whether such extraneous objects as neckties can cause physicians to spread infections.  Until now, most observers have argued that the evidence wasn't clear as to whether ties really did pick up and transmit germs.  But now, physicians themselves seem to have decided not to take a chance.

The American Medical Association is now considering a resolution which would recommend a ban on doctors wearing ties while in contact with patients. The same ban could also apply to wearing long sleeves or other excess clothing that could potentially serve as a vector of infection.

The resolution follows a similar move by the British Medical Assocation, which recommended doctors stop wearing what it dubbed "functionless" clothing back in 2006.  Meanwhile, some U.S. hospitals have begun to follow the BMA's lead.

The AMA has said that its members are seeking more information on this issue before they take a final vote. However, given existing trends, our guess is that they'll implement this recommendation.  Better safe than sorry, after all.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this UPI piece

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Hospitals consider role of clothes in infection control
Study: Hospitals cutting back on infection-control education
HHS releases new infection-control action plan

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