Environmental Hygiene Article Collection
- Improperly cleaned, disinfected, or sterilized reusable medical devices are a critical cause of health care-associated infections. More effective studies are required to address the improvement of cleaning and disinfection instructions, as well as selection of cleaning and disinfecting agents, for surfaces of reusable devices and equipment.
- Because increasing evidence suggests that the environment plays a role in transmission of health care-associated infections, more attention is focusing on environmental cleaning and improving its efficacy. Creating and sustaining a successful cleaning and disinfection program should include several key components using a bundle approach and requires ongoing commitment within the institution.
- Evidence that contaminated surfaces contribute to the transmission of hospital pathogens comes from studies modeling transmission routes, microbiologic studies, observational epidemiologic studies, intervention studies, and outbreak reports. This review presents evidence that contaminated surfaces contribute to transmission and discusses the various strategies currently available to address environmental contamination in hospitals.
- Recent data demonstrate that the contaminated hospital surface environment plays a key role in the transmission of Clostridium difficile. Enhanced environmental cleaning of rooms housing Clostridium difficile-infected patients is warranted, and, if additional studies demonstrate a benefit of “no-touch” methods (eg, ultraviolet irradiation, hydrogen peroxide systems), their routine use should be considered.
- Contaminated environmental surfaces provide an important potential source for transmission of health care-associated pathogens. In recent years, a variety of interventions have been shown to be effective in improving cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. This review examines the evidence that improving environmental disinfection can reduce health care-associated infections.
- Health care-associated infections (HAI) remain a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality. Although the main source of nosocomial pathogens is likely the patient's endogenous flora, an estimated 20% to 40% of HAI have been attributed to cross infection via the hands of health care personnel, who have become contaminated from direct contact with the patient or indirectly by touching contaminated environmental surfaces. Multiple studies strongly suggest that environmental contamination plays an important role in the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp.