A study has found serious bacterial contamination of surgical gloves used in hospital operations.
It found about half of all surgical gloves contained skin bacteria and 13% had potentially harmful bacteria, including faecal bacteria.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Otago and published in the Australasian Medical Journal.
The report blames poor hand washing by some hospital staff, and also recommends that boxes of surgical gloves are better designed so staff do not touch other gloves when they reach for a new pair.
The researchers say it is vital that bacteria is not transferred from one patient to another, as hospital-acquired infections are potentially fatal and cost health budgets $136 million a year.