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Lynne Kerrigan
The Veterinary Nurse, Vol. 4, Iss. 3, 21 Apr 2013, pp 138 - 144

The continued prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections has raised awareness and standards of hygiene within veterinary practices. As the range and complexity of surgical procedures carried out within veterinary practice increases, so does the awareness and expectations of clients.
Infection control measures, such as the appointment of a designated infection control officer, and protocols, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) 6-step hand hygiene method, have done much to raise standards, and are now routine practice throughout many veterinary surgeries. But has the same level of consideration been given to surgical supplies? Can we be sure that as long as the chemical indicator has initiated the expected colour change, the contents of a pack is sterile? Human errors are frequently associated with sterilisation failure. This article aims to discuss some such errors and the ways in which they may be prevented.

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