EMT stethoscopes commonly carry MRSA
Researchers with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School reported in the Journal Prehospital Emergency Care that a significant number of stethoscopes carried by New Jersey ambulance responders were infected with methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureaus (MRSA) bacteria. Many responders were unaware of the problem and "could not remember" the last time the stethoscope they carried had been cleaned.
16 of 50 stethoscopes tested were infected with the drug-resistant bacteria. They could be effectively cleaned with an alcohol swab. It is assumed that New Jersey EMTs are not atypical in their care of equipment or their exposure to bacteria.