Resistant germs may survive hospital cleaning

3rd of January 2013
Resistant germs may survive hospital cleaning

Cleaning an intensive care room that has been occupied by a patient infected with multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii may not remove the risk of the next patient becoming infected, a study has found.

The study carried out at the University of Maryland Medical Centre showed that although cleaning reduced the risk of contamination, it did not completely remove the threat of transmission.

"Persistent room contamination serves as a potential reservoir for transmission and colonisation of future room occupants," said the authors of the study. "Novel cleaning methods such as hydrogen peroxide vapour and ultraviolet light have been shown to be significantly more effective. However, turnaround time may limit regular use and hinder implementation in hospitals."

All 32 rooms included in the study, which was carried out at the centre's medical, surgical, and cardiac surgery intensive care units, had been occupied by a patient infected or colonised by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii.

Environmental samples were taken when the patient was ready for discharge and again after the room had been cleaned. The samples were collected from various sites including the bed rail buttons, bedside table handle, call button and interior and exterior door handles.

Staff removed curtains, infusion pumps and respiratory equipment and used wipes soaked in hospital-grade disinfectant to clean all surfaces. The floors were then mopped using the same solution.

Before cleaning, contamination with the bacteria was most often seen on the floor, supply cart, bed rails and ventilator. However after cleaning, the most common areas of persistent contamination were the floor, bedside table, call button, door handles and supply cart.


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