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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the most important messages that I have been given in my years of medicine is to make sure that I washed my hands before and after I see each and every patient.

It is a great way to prevent the spread of infection. But as time goes on we are learning that there are many other things that can impact the spread of bacteria.

The latest is one that we probably should’ve thought about before but clearly is a conduit for infection.

What I’m talking about is the stethoscope and according to a new study physicians don’t clean their stethoscopes enough and as a result they can spread infection to different patients.

According to the president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, stethoscopes are used repeatedly throughout the day.

He says stethoscopes may be able to become contaminated after each patient exposure so they must be treated as a source of infection and doctors must take this seriously.

Dr. Brian McDonough