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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Improper use of wipes spreads MRSA


4 June, 2008  

New research from the Welsh School of Pharmacy has suggested that incorrect use of antimicrobial wipes in hospitals could spread methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The team of researchers, led by microbiologist Dr Jean-Yves Maillard found that cleaning protocols currently used by hospital staff can spread pathogens after only the first use of a wipe, due to the inability of wipes to kill certain bacteria.

The study authors call for a new approach to antimicrobial wipe use based on the three point priniciple – “one wipe, one application, per surface”.

A surveillance programme observed hospital staff using surface wipes and found that although some wipes were more effective than others, the wipes tested could not kill the bacteria removed, and as a result, transmitted them to other surfaces when reused.

Dr Gareth Williams, microbiologist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy presented the findings to the American Society of Microbiology’s 108th General Meeting in Boston, US.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Cardiff University