Can we 'wipe out' MRSA?

June 3, 2008

Three basic principles is all it could take to reduce the incidence of MRSA in hospitals according to a new research by Cardiff University.

Disinfectants are routinely used on hard surfaces in hospitals to kill bacteria, with antimicrobial containing wipes increasingly being employed for this purpose. Antimicrobial wipes were first introduced in 2005 in hospitals in Wales.

A study by the University's Welsh School of Pharmacy looked into the ability of antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove, kill and prevent the spread of such infections as MRSA. They found 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, led by microbiologist Dr Jean-Yves Maillard is now calling for a 'one wipe – one application – per surface' approach to infection control in healthcare environments.

The research 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. It was found that the wipes were being applied to the same surface several times and used on consecutive surfaces before being discarded.

These actions were then replicated in the lab alongside a three-step system, developed by the research team 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.

The study 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.

Dr Gareth Williams, microbiologist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, said: "Claims of effectiveness, such as 'kills MRSA', are ubiquitous on the packaging of antimicrobial-containing wipes. Methods currently available to test the performance of these products may be inappropriate since they do not assess the ability of wipes to actually disinfect surfaces. We have developed a simple, rapid, robust and reproducible method which will help identify best practice in the use of the wipes.

"Our surveillance study in its own right has been highly revealing in that it has highlighted the risks associated with the way decontamination products are currently being deployed in Welsh hospitals and the need for routine observation as well as proper training in the use of these wipes in reducing risks of infection to patients.

"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."

It is anticipated the research will promote a UK and worldwide routine surveillance programme examining the effectiveness of disinfectants used in hospitals, and if applied will help assure the public that control measures are being carefully scrutinised would undoubtedly be beneficial.

Source: Cardiff University

Explore further: Household MRSA controlled through treatment compliance, patient education

Related Stories

Household MRSA controlled through treatment compliance, patient education

July 28, 2016
A new study found that following basic hygienic practices and complying with protocols for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decolonization reduces the time to clearance of the bacteria more quickly than ...

Infection-causing bacteria are the bad guys of the health-care world, but dental detectives track them down

November 27, 2012
It began as a routine investigation. There were five disinfectants in town—ecofriendly types. Claimed they could wipe out bacteria in dental clinics. Tufts researchers had to figure out whether the cleaners were on the ...

More evidence needed to identify best methods to clean hospital rooms, prevent infections

August 10, 2015
Tray tables, bed rails, light switches, and toilets: All are common vectors for swapping germs between patients and health care workers. While a new systematic overview in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine points to ...

Antibiotic resistance is a international issue that better education can address

November 14, 2013
Antibiotic resistance is an international reality whose solution includes better educating physicians about using bacteria-fighting tools, says an infectious disease physician.

Germ-zapping 'robots': Hospitals combat superbugs (Update)

April 29, 2013
They sweep. They swab. They sterilize. And still the germs persist. In U.S. hospitals, an estimated 1 in 20 patients pick up infections they didn't have when they arrived, some caused by dangerous 'superbugs' that are hard ...

Recommended for you

New cellular approach found to control progression of chronic kidney disease

December 15, 2017
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that extracellular vesicles - tiny protein-filled structures - isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) can be used to effectively slow the progression of kidney damage ...

Testing shows differences in efficacy of Zika vaccines after one year

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A large team of researchers with members from Harvard Medical School, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Bioqual Inc. and MIT has found that the efficacy of the three types of Zika vaccines currently ...

How to regulate fecal microbiota transplants

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A small team of researchers at the University of Maryland, some with affiliations to the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, has written and published a Policy Forum piece in the journal Science ...

Screening could catch a quarter of hip fractures before they happen

December 15, 2017
Community screening for osteoporosis could prevent more than a quarter of hip fractures in older women - according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Urine test developed to test for tuberculosis

December 14, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has developed a urine test that can be used to detect tuberculosis (TB) in human patients. In their paper published in Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

40 years after first Ebola outbreak, survivors show signs they can stave off new infection

December 14, 2017
Survivors of the first known Ebola outbreak, which occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, may be key to development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs to treat future outbreaks, according to a new study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.