Antimicrobial Wipes Often Spread Bacteria

Posted on June 5, 2008  Comments (1)

Can we ‘wipe out’ hospital MRSA?

Led by microbiologist Dr Jean-Yves Maillard, the study into the ability of antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove, kill and prevent the spread of such infections as MRSA, has revealed that current protocols utilised by hospital staff have the potential to spread pathogens after only the first use of a wipe, particularly due to the ineffectiveness of wipes to actually kill bacteria.

The team is now calling for a ‘one wipe – one application – per surface’ approach to infection control in healthcare environments.

The research, supported by a grant from the Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care, involved a surveillance programme observing hospital staff using surface wipes to decontaminate surfaces near patients, such as bed rails, and other surfaces commonly touched by staff and patients, such as monitors, tables and key pads, which were later replicated in the lab.

A three-step system was also developed to test the ability of several commercially available wipes to disinfect surfaces contaminated with strains Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA and MSSA. The system tested the removal of pathogens, the transmission of them, and the anti-microbial properties of wipes.

It was found that the wipes were being applied to the same surface several times and used on consecutive surfaces before being discarded. It also revealed that although some wipes can remove higher numbers of bacteria from surfaces than others, the wipes tested were unable to kill the bacteria removed. As a result, high numbers of bacteria were transferred to other surfaces when reused.

“On the whole, wipes can be effective in removing, killing and preventing the transfer of pathogens such as MRSA but only if used in the right way. We found that the most effective way is to prevent the risk of MRSA spread in hospital wards is to ensure the wipe is used only once on one surface.”

Related: CDC Urges Increased Effort to Reduce Drug-Resistant Infectionshandwashing by medical care workers

One Response to “Antimicrobial Wipes Often Spread Bacteria”

  1. Curious Cat: Copper Doorknobs and Faucets Kill 95% of Superbugs
    November 1st, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

    “A study found that copper fittings rapidly killed bugs on hospital wards, succeeding where other infection control measures failed…”

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