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How do we assess hospital cleaning? A proposal for microbiological standards for surface hygiene in hospitals.

Authors
  • Dancer, S J
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Hospital Infection
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
Volume
56
Issue
1
Pages
10–15
Identifiers
PMID: 14706265
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Increasing numbers of hospital-acquired infections have generated much attention over the last decade. The public has linked the so-called 'superbugs' with their experience of dirty hospitals, but the precise role of cleaning in the control of these organisms in unknown. Hence the importance of a clean environment is likely to remain speculative unless it becomes an evidence-based science. This proposal is a call for bacteriological standards with which to assess clinical surface hygiene in hospitals, based on those used by the food industry. The first standard concerns any finding of a specific 'indicator' organism, the presence of which suggests a requirement for increased cleaning. Indicators would include Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus, Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and various Gram-negative bacilli. The second standard concerns a quantitative aerobic colony count of <5 cfu/cm(2) on frequent hand touch surfaces in hospitals. The principle relates to modern risk management systems such as HACCP, and reflects the fact that pathogens of concern are widespread. Further work is required to evaluate and refine these standards and define the infection risk from the hospital environment.

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