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Ability of cleaning-disinfecting wipes to remove bacteria from medical device surfaces

  • Elizabeth A. Gonzalez
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Elizabeth A. Gonzalez, PhD, 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Bldg 64, Rm 4022, Silver Spring, MD 20993.
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Material Sciences, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
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  • Poulomi Nandy
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Material Sciences, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
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  • Anne D. Lucas
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Material Sciences, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
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  • Victoria M. Hitchins
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Material Sciences, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
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      Background

      Nosocomial infections are a serious problem in health care facilities. Bacteria can be transferred from patient to patient via contaminated reusable medical devices and equipment.

      Methods

      An anesthesia machine and objects representative of smooth and ridged machine knobs were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus atrophaeus spores, and Clostridium sporogenes spores. The ability of 5 commercially available cleaning-disinfecting wipes to remove bacteria was compared with gauze soaked with water or bleach. Gauze soaked with water was used to determine the optimal wetness for bacteria removal, which was then used to evaluate the efficacy of the wipe ingredients.

      Results

      All of the wipes cleaned the device surfaces significantly better than the no wipe control. Some wipes performed equally well as gauze with water, whereas others performed worse. Overall, the wipe containing sodium hypochlorite was the most effective at removing bacteria. When the wipe ingredients were re-evaluated using the determined optimal wipe wetness on gauze, their effectiveness at cleaning S aureus, but not spores, significantly improved.

      Conclusion

      Physically removing bacteria from device surfaces with water was often as effective as the cleaning-disinfecting wipes. Of the wipe active ingredients evaluated, sodium hypochlorite was the most effective overall. The wetness of the wipes may also play a role in their effectiveness.

      Key Words

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