IDSc 2023: preventing the risk of infection in ultrasound

Ellie Wishart, Senior Medical Affairs Manager, Nanosonics, speaks to CSJ about the importance of effective decontamination of ultrasound probes to prevent the risk of infection.

At IDSc 2023, hot topics included the risk posed to patients from ultrasound probes if they are not properly decontaminated. 

Studies have shown:

  • More than 45% of ultrasound probes used across 5 EDs and 5 ICUs had bacterial contamination and over 50% had blood contamination.1
  • More than 90% of transvaginal ultrasound probes were contaminated after cleaning with a paper towel and more than 50% tested positive for MRSA or other potentially pathogenic bacteria.2
  • More than 80% of ultrasound probe handles remain contaminated when not disinfected.3,4
  • A meta analysis found a prevalence of 12.9% for frequently occurring bacteria and 1% for viruses on transvaginal & transrectal probes after low level disinfection wipes and sprays.5
  • More than 20% of probe heads remained contaminated with bacteria after low level disinfection (LLD) with wipes.3

In this interview, held at the IDSc annual conference and exhibition, Ellie Wishart discusses:

  • The need for clinical education. 
  • The consequences of failures to decontaminate ultrasound probes.
  • The implementation of best practice.
  • The role of technology in automating reprocessing and eliminating human error.
  • The importance of traceability.


  1. Keys, M., et al. Crit Care Resusc. 2015:17(1): 43-46.
  2. Oide, S., et al. (2019). J Med Ultrason 46(4): 475-479.
  3. Buescher DL, et al. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2016;47(5): 646-651.
  4. Ngu, A., et al. (2015). Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 36(5): 1-4.
  5. Leroy S, et al. J Hosp Infect 2013;83(2): 99-106.

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