Does reducing spore contamination on high-touch surfaces reduce C. difficile transmission?

Curtis Donskey’s group recently published a multicentre randomised trial in 16 US hospitals to evaluate the impact of an enhanced cleaning programme (including fluoruescent markers, environmental cultures, and feedback to cleaners) on the transmission of C. difficile. The intervention resulted in an increase in the removal of fluorescent markers, a reduction in environmental contamination with C. difficile, but no reduction in healthcare-associated CDI!

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Diluting the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide room decontamination?

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A somewhat perplexing new study has just been published in the Journal of Hospital Infection comparing the effectiveness of two hydrogen peroxide based automated room decontamination systems: a low-concentration (5%) hydrogen peroxide system (Deprox) and a high-concentration (30%) hydrogen peroxide system (Bioquell).

The study evaluated the impact of the two systems each run in 10 single rooms containing seeded metal discs placed in five locations, with a 6-log load of MRSA, K. pneumoniae, and C. difficile spores. The MRSA and K. pneumoniae were either low soiling (0.03% BSA) or heavy soiling (10% BSA), and the C. difficile spores was either low soiling (0.03% BSA) or in body fluid. In addition, surface samples were taken from 22 surfaces in each room before and after decon using contact plates. The bottom line is that both systems achieved a >5-log reduction on all of the discs (including those with heavy soiling), and there were no real differences in the levels of surface contamination remaining. All this understandably moved the authors to conclude that ‘The starting concentration and mode of delivery of hydrogen peroxide may not improve the efficacy of decontamination in practice.’

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What’s lurking in the hospital environment? The importance of cleaning and disinfection in infection prevention and control

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I was asked to speak to a group of link nurses at Southampton Hospital earlier in the week, and thought I’d share my slides, here.

I am passionate about the importance of surface contamination in transmission: I still think it’s really under-rated. I am pretty sure that most healthcare workers would have no idea that your chances of acquiring C. difficile infection (and others) is influenced by who used the room or bed space before you. And who would believe that VRE could survive on a dry surface for 4 years? Or that touching a surface is as important as touching the patient in terms of acquiring contamination on your hands?

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