A Preliminary Field-Relevant Test to Assess Decontamination of High-Touch Environmental Surfaces: Testing with Staphylococcus aureus

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Editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The following work represents the preliminary work being performed by the authors. The study was sponsored by Process Cleaning Solutions (PCS)

Disclosures: The authors of this article are employees of CremCo Labs.

Abstract

Background

High-touch environmental surfaces (HITES) can be vehicles for healthcare-associated infections (HAI). However, their decontamination by wiping is rarely assessed reflecting field use. Here, we report the development and application of a new carrier platform to quantitatively assess HITES decontamination by wiping with a microfiber-based fabric dampened with a neutral pH solution (~ 200 ppm chlorine) of hypochlorous acid (PCS).

Materials & Methods

The platform (30 cm X 60 cm) was custom-designed and made out of Teflon with perforations to separately imbed nine carrier disks in it. Each disk (1 cm diam.; 0.7 mm thick) of brushed stainless steel was individually placed into the holes for a tight fit and the platform sterilized by autoclaving. Six of the disks received 10 µL of a Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538) suspension (>106 CFU) in a soil load, and the inocula dried under ambient conditions for two hours. Three of the disks were left uncontaminated to assess any transfer of contamination during wiping. For decontamination, the entire platform was wiped in two steps with a dampened microfiber fabric in a field relevant manner. After 30 seconds the disks were then retrieved directly and simultaneously into separate vials containing 10.0 mL of an eluent/diluent/neutralizer. The eluates were assayed for CFU by membrane filtration and log10 reductions calculated. Normal saline with 0.1% Tween-80 (saline-T) was used as a control solution for wiping.

Results

This preliminary testing showed the platform to keep the disks in place during wiping and also allowed the wiping itself to better represent the decontamination process in the field. Wiping with the hypochlorous acid disinfectant brought the contamination to an acceptable level (>5 log10 reduction) with no transfer of contamination to clean disks.

Conclusion

The device and the protocol described can quantitatively determine HITES decontamination in a field relevant manner. The platform and the decontamination process are also potentially applicable to not only other kinds of carrier materials but also to assess HITES decontamination using other classes of pathogens implicated in HAI. The use of microber fabric greatly reduced the number of CFU, but was further enhanced by the addition of the hypochlorous acid.

Last Updated: June 18, 2017, 9:52 AM EST

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Dr. Bahram Zargar
Chief Executive Officer of CREM Co Labs. CREM Co is a contract and R&D laboratory uniquely positioned to provide value to the infection prevention and control (IPAC) industry as well as those working in health-related environmental microbiology and molecular biology. CREM Co has the expertise for handling all major classes of pathogens in water, food, air, municipal wastes as well as on animate and inanimate surfaces. It can assess disinfectants and antiseptics using internationally accepted test protocols. Its state-of-the-art aerobiology facilities are designed to study airborne microbes and decontamination of indoor air. Building on the rich history of the Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology, CREM Co will continue to focus on the assessment, development and promotion of innovative and sustainable strategies for environmental control of harmful microbes for a safer tomorrow.
Dr. Saeideh Naderi
Chief Operating Officer of CREM Co Labs. CREM Co is a contract and R&D laboratory uniquely positioned to provide value to the infection prevention and control (IPAC) industry as well as those working in health-related environmental microbiology and molecular biology. CREM Co has the expertise for handling all major classes of pathogens in water, food, air, municipal wastes as well as on animate and inanimate surfaces. It can assess disinfectants and antiseptics using internationally accepted test protocols. Its state-of-the-art aerobiology facilities are designed to study airborne microbes and decontamination of indoor air. Building on the rich history of the Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology, CREM Co will continue to focus on the assessment, development and promotion of innovative and sustainable strategies for environmental control of harmful microbes for a safer tomorrow.
Dr. Syed Sattar
Dr. Sattar (Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa) is internationally recognized as one of the leading subject matter experts in infection prevention & control and an advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the World Health Organization (WHO). Over the past 50 years of research, he has expanded our understanding of infection control in terms of both practical cleaning practices, as well as innovations towards the prevention of infections in hospitals and other public spaces. Currently Dr. Sattar is the Chief Scientific Officer for CREM Co, Inc.

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