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Antibacterial wipes can spread MRSA

  • 3 Comments

Some types of antibacterial wipes used to decontaminate surfaces in hospitals could be helping to spread MRSA, suggests a UK study.

Researchers from the Welsh School of Pharmacy observed hospital staff using antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove bacteria from surfaces such as bed rails, monitors, tables and key pads.

They said staff used the wipes to decontaminate a number of different surfaces before discarding them.

When tested, the researchers found that the wipes were not actually able to kill the bacteria and if reused would contaminate any surface they touched.

Gareth Williams, microbiologist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, said: ‘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 the most effective way to prevent the risk of MRSA spread in hospital wards is to ensure the wipe is used only once on one surface.’

He added that routine observation and proper training in the use of wipes would help reduce the risk of infection to patients.

The study results were presented yesterday at the annual general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston, US.

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • This seems beyond belief to me. Surely anyone with Nurse training behind them should be aware of the basic principles of infection control and not be using a wipe on more than one surface? I felt the same when I read a few years ago of a research project to observe if nurses in day-to-day practise were wiping their hands inadvertently on their uniforms (sorry, I can't recall the authors). Have standards fallen to this extent, that there is not the basic understanding of infection control theory there in the first place? What are they teaching them these days?

    Yours,
    One of the Old School.

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  • Hello, I read this article with dismay. I am a student nurse and I would have thought it common sense to wipe only one surface before discarding the wipe. I cannot believe that researchers have found health care workers moving from one surface to the next with the same wipe. It is commonly known that we do not move from one patient to the next without using the alcohol gel at the very least. Discarding a wipe after use on a surface should come naturally to anyone working in a hospital environment.

    Anne
    Canterbury

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  • Watching the nursing staff in a Cornish hospitals casualty unit on a busy Saturday night I was eager to learn the cleaning routine they used!

    The nurse I watched wiped one or two surfaces with a wet wipe then placed it on the bed that she had just finished cleaning.......
    She then didn't finish wet wiping the bed she was working on but instead made it up with "Clean" linen - ready for the next person who was admitted.


    I do believe the staff were under" manned" and this certainly added to the confusion that night, possibly also to the lack of proper hygiene methods that were used.

    We left feeling very dirty after many hours when I was able to make long hard observations.

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