One of Charles Caleb Colton’s most famous quotes was “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. I would hazard a guess that most of you have heard or used that quote at some point in time. In developing our messaging for our Disinfection Dysfunction education campaign, “someone who may or may not have previously written for Talk Clean To Me” decided to imitate me with a little alliteration (albeit probably more mocking than flattery owing to my love of a good alliteration), but hey, I’ll take what I can get!
What is Cross Contamination Conundrum you ask? Well, it’s a relatively unknown or unspoken situation where some disinfectants can transfer pathogens from surface to surface during the disinfection process. I think we all know that a new disinfectant wipe or cloth should be used on surfaces as the room is being disinfected, but the truth is that when auditing cleaning procedures, we frequently observe that this is not the case. Using a single wipe over a number of surfaces can lead to transfer of pathogens from one surface to the next and not the removal of them from the environment.
Because high touch surfaces are increasingly being recognized for their potential contribution to spreading pathogens, Sattar et al set out to develop a testing method that more closely simulates field use of disinfectants. Part of the interest was to investigate if the disinfectant wipes were doing their job in removing microbial pathogens from the surfaces they were being used to clean, and if not, whether they could then transfer these pathogens to neighbouring areas.
The researchers used their recently recognized test method (ASTM E2967-15) and conducted testing at 3 independent laboratories using 5 different commercially available disinfectants against Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii. The wipes were tested based on their ability to decontaminate a surface within 10-seconds of wiping without transferring pathogens to a clean surface. The study showed that the test method was both repeatable and reproducible between different labs. The good news was that all disinfectant products tested were able to achieve a >4Log (99.99%) reduction against the bacteria tested with 10-seconds of wiping. However, only 1 disinfectant product (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide®) was able to prevent transfer of bacteria to a secondary surface. All other products exhibited transfer of bacteria to secondary surfaces.
The study begs the question, does your disinfectant cause cross contamination? I hope you’ll spend some time investigating to find out!