Research Articles

Posts in Environmental Studies
Decontamination of the Environment Can Help Prevent Sports-Related Infections, Including MRSA

Infectious Diseases Associated with Organized Sports and Outbreak Control

Published: Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2017
Source: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/node/133042

Background

While organized sports provide a variety of health benefits, they also pose a risk to athletes by exposing them to a variety of infectious diseases. Investigators examined a variety of sports, common pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA, Bacillus cereus, E. coli, influenza, etc.

Results

Investigators identified several major risk factors, including skin-to-skin contact with infected athletes, physical trauma, sharing of equipment (i.e. showers and locker rooms) and contact with athletic surfaces (mats, artificial turf, gym or weight room equipment). Athletic programs should ensure regular cleaning of facilities and equipment and develop a plan for maintaining a sanitary sporting environment.

Pulsed Xenon UV Reduces Contamination Left Behind by Manual Cleaning

EVALUATION OF A PULSED XENON ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT DEVICE FOR ISOLATION ROOM DISINFECTION IN A UNITED KINGDOM HOSPITAL

Published: American Journal of Infection Control, September 2016
Source: https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(16)00150-4/pdf

Background

In spite of gains made in the United Kingdom to reduce the burden of some infections, infection prevention continues to be a challenge and decontamination of patient care areas has become a more vital part of infection control programs, particularly for C. diff and norovirus. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a pulsed Xenon UV disinfection device at Queens Hospital in reducing the contamination of high touch surfaces.

Results

The study found that standard terminal cleaning (manual cleaning with chemical disinfection) did not adequately remove microbial contamination. The pulsed Xenon UV system significantly reduced microorganisms from high touch surfaces further reducing the number of rooms still contaminated after terminal cleaning by at least half for all 5 surfaces tested.

Ultraviolet Disinfection Effective Against Harmful Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi

The Microbiological Impact of Pulsed Xenon Ultraviolet Disinfection on Resistant Bacteria, Bacterial Spore and Fungi and Viruses

Published: South African Journal of Infectious Disease, May 2016
Source: http://go.xenex.com/rs/356-QPD-246/images/Stibich-Stachowiak-2016-South-African-Journal-Infectious-disease.pdf

Background

Studies have shown that at least a portion of hospital-acquired infections, a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, are attributable to the environment. Studies have also shown that traditional cleaning may be insufficient to effectively clean a patient room. This study evaluated the effectiveness of killing multiple organisms, including Ebola, Bacillus anthracis, and a variety of bacteria and fungi known to cause harm.

Results

The study found significant reduction in pathogen counts after use of pulsed Xenon UV light at a distance of 1 meter, including Ebola, Bacillus anthracis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, E. coli, Aspergillus niger, and several viruses.

The Bactericidal Effect of Blue Light

Optimization of the Antimicrobial Effect of Blue Light on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) In Vitro

Published: Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, April 2016
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834034/

Background

Studies have proven that 405 nm, 415 nm, and 470 nm blue light can suppress growth of S. aureus (i.e. MRSA), E. coli, and other bacteria. This study aims to identify protocols to optimize the antimicrobial effects of blue light against MRSA>

Results

Researchers found that both 405 nm and 470 nm light are effective against Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and can result in up to 100% bacterial suppression with proper fluences.

Clinicians Must Be Aware of Risk of Cross-Transmission of Pathogens from Surfaces

Bacterial contamination of inanimate surfaces and equipment in the intensive care unit

Published: Journal of Intensive Care, December 2015
Source: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/node/133042

Background

Healthcare-acquired infections, specifically those in intensive care units can cause serious illnesses, particularly those caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens. Inanimate surfaces and equipment, such as bedrails, stethoscopes, medical charts, ultrasound machines, can be contaminated by bacteria, including drug-resistant pathogens.

Results

This meta analysis reviewed studies that indicated that ICU lead wires have been reported heavily contaminated (up to 45% of samples); stethoscopes (up to 100%); mechanical ventilators; portable radiograph equipment (up to 45%); ultrasound equipment, medical charts (80-90%), and mobile phones (94.5%). Due to the ability of healthcare workers to contaminate their hands from these surfaces and equipment and transmit into other patient areas, it is critical to understand the role of surfaces and equipment when developing infection control protocols.

Ability for Germs to Spread Between Spaces

Use of Hygiene Protocols to Control the Spread of Viruses in a Hotel

Published: Food and Environmental Virology, February 2015
Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263778398_Use_of_Hygiene_Protocols_to_Control_the_Spread_of_Viruses_in_a_Hotel

Background

Understanding the routes through which germs can be transmitted enables better methods for controlling and reducing the number of microorganisms in an environment. Enteric and respiratory viruses are among the most common causes of illnesses in indoor environments, such as hotels. This study explored the transmission of a simulated respiratory virus to track the spread throughout hotel rooms and conference area.

Results

Researchers found that viruses spread between hotel rooms, communal areas, and conference center by both housekeeping staff and guests. The viruses spread rapidly and were transmitted back and forth between spaces. Implementing additional hygiene practices by housekeeping staff reduced the contamination in guest rooms by 87%.

Overview of Environmental Role in HAIs and New Technologies

Controlling Hospital-Acquired Infection: Focus on the Role of the Environment and New Technologies for Decontamination

Published: Clinical Microbiology Reviews, October 2014
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4187643/

Background

Combining increased concern over antimicrobial resistance and more evidence that the environment may facilitate transmission of health care-associated pathogens, including VRE, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Acinetobacter spp., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and norovirus, environmental disinfection has become more critical in efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The study summarizes existing research on the relationship between disinfection and transmission of various pathogens, challenges with routine cleaning practices, and various automated decontamination devices, including UV.

Results

UV light systems have proven to reduce microbial contamination and offer a faster decontamination cycle than hydrogen peroxide systems, reducing the time a room is unavailable for patient admissions. Recent studies have also shown reduction in patients acquiring multidrug-resistant organisms.

Enhanced Disinfection Such as UV Can Significantly Reduce Healthcare-Associated Infections

The role of the healthcare environment in the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms: update on current best practices for containment

Published: Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease, June 2014
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4250270/

Background

There is clearly a relationship between contamination of the environment with the increased risk of infections in healthcare settings. With increasing concern over antibiotic-resistant organisms and the persistence of transmission within healthcare facilities, it is critical to understand the role the environment plays in disease transmission, along with current best practices and emerging solutions to combat these microbes.

Results

Patient risk for contracting a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) increases by a factor of 3.5 if the room has previously been occupied by a patient infected with Acinetobacter buamannii, 2.5 for C. diff, 2.25 for VRE and 1.5 for MRSA. This increased risk is attributed to the environment since there is no direct contact between patients. Among the emerging technologies are enhanced disinfection devices, including automated UV disinfection systems, which have been shown to reduce the HAI rates.

Contaminated Surfaces Contribute to Disease Transmission

Evidence That Contaminated Surfaces Contribute to the Transmission of Hospital Pathogens and an Overview of Strategies to Address Contaminated Surfaces in Hospital Settings

Published: American Journal of Infection Control, May 2013
Source: https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(13)00004-7/pdf

Background

Once thought to play a negligible role, evidence now indicates that contaminated surfaces play an important role in the “endemic and epidemic transmission of certain pathogens that cause health care-associated infections.” Through modeling transmission, microbiologic studies, observational epidemiologic studies, intervention studies, and outbreak reports, there is now ample evidence that contaminated surfaces contribute to transmission.

Results

Environmental sampling of surfaces has found that certain pathogens can survive for months on dry hospital surfaces, with VRE being reported as lasting up to 4 years. Traditional cleaning methods, including bleach may not be sufficient to eliminate some pathogens, such as a study that found 27% of rooms contaminated with A. baumannii or MRSA following 4 rounds of bleach disinfectant. Improvements in cleaning and disinfection, including the use of ultraviolet C or pulsed Xenon ultraviolet radiation have “shown promise and improved efficacy” compared to conventional methods.

The Role of Surfaces in the Spread of Disease

SIGNIFICANCE OF FOMITES IN THE SPREAD OF RESPIRATORY AND ENTERIC VIRAL DISEASE

Published: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, March 2007
Source: http://aem.asm.org/content/73/6/1687.full.pdf+html

Background

Viruses cause the majority (60%) of human infections along with common illnesses caused by respiratory and enteric viruses. Unfortunately, unlike diseases caused by bacteria, viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics, making prevention even more critical.

This article summarizes existing research to assess the significance fomites (porous and nonporous surfaces or objects that can become contaminated) in the spread of common viruses.

Results

Once a surface becomes contaminated, the transfer of infectious disease between objects can easily occur. Numerous studies have shown that contaminated fomites (surfaces) are linked with the transmission of viruses, therefore disinfection of surfaces can be used to help interrupt disease spread.

Pathogens Persist for Extended Periods of Time

How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review

Published: BMC Infectious Diseases, August 2006
Source: https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2334-6-130

Background

Disinfection guidelines have evolved over time as the role of the environment in the transmission of disease has become more well understood. This literature review seeks to outline how long nosocomial pathogens can persist and remain a viable source for transmission of illnesses or infections.

Results

Numerous nosocomial pathogens can persist on surfaces for hours, weeks, months, and even some indications of years. The survival time for MRSA has been documented to range from 7 days to 12 months, and up to 46 months for VRE. These pathogens continue to serve as a source of transmission with no preventive surface disinfection.