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Combating the C. diff terrorists on the loose in hospitals
Date:5/19/2011

ng up to deliver just an aspirin. Kenneley said that unwashed hands could contaminate the environment, or the C. diff spores may even be brought to the next patient's room.

Kenneley suggested that monitoring hand-washing practices during patient care activities when healthcare workers are not aware that they are in fact being monitored will tell us if hand-washing is being appropriately practiced.

"If there is an outbreak on a floor, it clearly points to the fact that healthcare workers are not washing their hands at appropriate times that are critical for infection prevention," she said.

Kenneley supports the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to vigorously wash the hands with soap for 15 seconds before leaving the patient's room. She also encourages the use of the World Health Organization's published standardized guidelines for monitoring hand-washing of healthcare workers in the clinical setting.

"Alcohol wipes do not work with this bacteria," she said. Workers should also gown and glove up and remove the protection before leaving the infected patient's room to prevent the spores from clinging to clothing.

The ideal scenario to prevent the spread of further infection involves hospital workers generally springing into action when patients get diarrhea and isolate the patient while they are tested for the presence of the bacteria.

"The only way a patient is sprung from isolation is to have the tests come back negative for the bacteria," said Kenneley.

If a patient is infected, then the room needs to be cleaned with the use of bleach-based institutional cleaners.

Visual inspection of cleanliness for these bacteria is not enough. While new fluorescent light detection technologies are under development to test surface cleanliness, they still are not widely used, Kenneley said.

Better detection of cleanliness is needed, she said.

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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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