Environmental Hygiene Article Collection
- In recent years, there has been an accelerated use of electronic medical records resulting in a more efficient management of patient information.1,2 Consequently, mobile technology devices including computer tablets such as iPad (Apple, Cupertino, CA) have been increasingly used to access information for patient care.3 This observed trend raises questions on infection control measures to avoid transmission of pathogens through this new technology. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the device using a slightly damp, lint-free cloth.
- 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.
- The role played by health care worker's uniforms on the horizontal transmission of organisms within the hospital is still controversial. To determine the differential laundering practices in regards to white coats and scrubs, we surveyed physicians present at the 3 weekly academic conferences with largest attendance at our hospital (medicine, pediatrics, and anesthesiology). Out of 160 providers, white coats were washed every 12.4 ± 1.1 days and scrubs every 1.7 ± 0.1 days (mean ± standard error; P < .001).
- Environmental service workers play an important role in the prevention of health care–associated infections. Environmental service workers working at a Veterans Administration Medical Center completed the Environmental Service Workers' Knowledge and Opinions Regarding Environmental Cleaning Survey. The findings from this survey suggest the need for further education of environmental service workers regarding the different types of pathogens that are spread by contaminated environmental surfaces and which of these are killed with bleach.
- 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.