In past blogs we have talked about the fact that comparing the number of claims between products is irrelevant. We have also talked about the fact that when it comes to disinfectant efficacy, there is no scientific evidence to support that a non-drug resistant strain of bacteria is easier for a disinfectant to kill than its drug or multi-drug resistant cousin. Let me be clear - Antibiotic Resistant IS NOT equal to Chemical Resistance!
This all said, I am often "impressed" (dripping with sarcasm) in the marketing tactics of disinfectant manufacturers. In 2004 the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) highlighted a group of antibiotic resistant pathogens that became coined as ESKAPE pathogens. These bacteria were identified as becoming increasingly resistant to available antibiotics and unfortunately there were, and still are, a scarcity of new effective antibiotics (without harmful side effects) being developed to combat their growing resistance. The ESKAPE pathogens include resistant strains of: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcusaureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species; where particular strains of these organisms are resistant to certain commonly used antibiotics i.e. MRSA, VRE, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, Multi-drug Resistant Acinetobactor species to name a few.
As a result of this growing concern over the ESKAPE bacteria, some disinfectant companies have begun marketing efficacy of their products against ESKAPE implying superiority over disinfectants from other companies that may have missed the memo. Although it is the job of disinfectant manufacturers to monitor growing trends in health care as it pertains to cleaning and disinfection; before pulling the trigger, a disinfectant manufacturer needs to assess if a trend in healthcare warrants any action at all. For example, any good hospital grade disinfectant on the market would have efficacy against many of the ESKAPE bacteria and/or their related non-resistant species and strains. Why then would a manufacturer spend the tens of thousands of dollars in germicidal testing simply to add disinfection claims for the sake of adding claims? The significance of showing efficacy against ESKAPE is simply to capitalize on this memorable marketing phrase that may gain the “buy in” of decision makers for the wrong reasons.
There is no dispute, these pathogens are responsible for a significant number of hospital and community acquired infections worldwide and without a doubt cause a significant burden on healthcare due to prolonged duration of illness and associated increased morbidity and mortality. BUT when it comes to disinfection, antibiotic resistant bacteria should be no more of a challenge to kill with hospital grade disinfectant than the non-resistant strains. Ultimately, ESKAPE pathogens can have a major impact on the treatment options available to healthcare professionals, but in the world of cleaning and disinfection - it’s just another day at the office.