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On Wipes and Bacteria in Clinical Settings

On Wipes and Bacteria in Clinical Settings

June 07, 2008 In the News

Many audiology, medical, and other clinics use wipes to clean surfaces, keyboards, rails, doorknobs, desktops, and other places people touch. However, if used incorrectly, wipes can actually spread the pathogens they were designed to kill.

A recent study in Wales by microbiologist Dr. Jean-Yves Maillard (Welsh School of Pharmacy) noted the best protocol is "one wipe, one application, one surface." MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) also referred to as "staph" is a common infection encountered in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes etc. MRSA is resistant to broad spectrum antibiotics, and indeed, MRSA can be fatal. Wipes that contain anti-microbials can kill MRSA, but only if used correctly. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control CDC) noted in 2005, 94,000 people were infected with invasive MRSA, of those, 18,650 died during hospital stays related to these more serious MRSA infections. MRSA is predominantly related to exposure during health-care delivery; two-thirds occured outside the hospital, one-third occured while hospitalized. Older people are more often infected than younger people. Dr. Williams (also with the Welsh School of Pharmacy) presented the study in Boston on June 3, 2008. He noted the most effective way of using wipes is to use them only one time and only on one surface. If used correctly, wipes can prevent the spreading of pathogens and can kill targeted pathogens.

For More Information, References and Recommendations:
Journal of the American Medical Association 2007;298(15):1763-1771.

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