An experimental study to sterilize medicinal leeches
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Leeches are widely used to treat venous congestion in microvascular replantation, free and conventional flap surgery, and traumatology. The leeches require to be in full contact with the wound sites and this results in the contamination of the host with the leech's bacterial flora. Empirical prophylactic antibiotic administration to the patient to eradicate the flora of leeches before the application might be reasonable. The aim of this study was to sterilize or at least to reduce the number of colonies of the bacteria on Hirudo medicinalis. The leeches were immersed in several antibiotic solutions and the final results were studied. However, we failed to completely eliminate the bacteria from all leeches, but statistically significant cleaning was obtained with the combination of ciprofloxacin and chloramphenicol. The immersion of leeches before application to the patient with the predetermined antibiotic agents regionally may be beneficial to prevent invasive infection of the patient.
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