Reuse of Antibacterial Wipes Can Spread Bacteria

Welsh study finds cleansers remove germs but do not kill them on surfaces

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TUESDAY, June 3, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Using an antibacterial wipe more than once can spread germs, according to a new study.

Some tested antimicrobial-containing wipes, which are gaining popularity in hospitals as a way to decontaminate hard surfaces, can remove greater numbers of bacteria from surfaces than others, but none killed the bacteria they captured. If used more than once, much of the bacteria could just be transferred onto other surfaces, the study said.

The findings, by researchers at the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University in Wales, were scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, in Boston.

The research highlights concerns about use of the wipes in hospitals and the importance of a routine surveillance program in reducing risks of infection to patients, the researchers said.

The study used a three-step process to determine how well the wipes removed, killed and prevented the transfer of bacteria between surfaces. Several commercially available wipes for disinfection were used on surfaces contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

More information

The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics has more about antibacterial agents.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, news release, June 3, 2008


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