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Disinfectant Wipes Not So Disinfect-y

Disinfectant Wipes Not So Disinfect-y

Surely, many of us assume, if everyday people don’t have the whole disinfectant routine down, we can at least lean on our doctors and hospitals to keep things clean. But a new study that shows disinfectant wipes regularly used in hospitals may actually be spreading bacteria rather than killing it.

British researchers said on Tuesday that while the wipes kill some bacteria, a study of two hospitals showed they did not get them all and could transfer several types of bacteria to other services. The drug-resistant infections include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. MRSA infections can vary from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases of the infection are linked to hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities. What’s more, the so-called “superbug” can result in life-threatening and disfiguring infections, and it can very often only be treated with pricey, intravenous antibiotics.

The new information is forging a more severe crackdown on poor hospital practices, which for the past several years have been thought of as the primary source of these infectious outbreaks.

Researchers decided that a more focused approach to using antibacterial wipes is in order. For example, many health care workers were found cleaning multiple surfaces near patients, such as bed rails, monitors and tables with a single wipe. This would increase the risk of passing an infection to a patient rather than cleaning it up. [MSNBC]

Posted: 6/5/08