Only in recent years have we discovered that dry surface biofilms are the culprit of pathogens. Dry surface biofilms are commonplace in hospitals.
A recent study conducted by D.Chowdhury et. al illustrates clearly that bacteria can be easily transferred from dry surface biofilms to the hands of healthcare workers and have an important role in the transmission of pathogens.
This simple lab study detected the presence of Staphylococcus Aureus that were transferred from dry surface biofilms grown on glass and plastic coupons. Volunteers pinched the coupons that dry surface biofilms were placed and then touched agar plates. In order to test the possibility of sequential transfer from the hands, the volunteers touched a series of 19 agar plates (without touching the coupons again).
Around 5% of the Staphylococcus aureus on the coupons was transferred to volunteers hands, and 1% to the agar plates via contaminated volunteers hands. While this does not seem like much, when you start with a million bacteria even 1% is a significant amount of bacterial transfer (around 20,000 or 105 cells). Worryingly, bacteria were transferred to agar plates for up to 19 sequential transfers.
The study also modelled whether detergent cleaning of the biofilms would help to mitigate the transfer of bacteria. However, in the case of the plastic coupons, wetting them with detergent actually made things worse, increasing the rate of bacterial transfer to the agar plates from 1% to 5%.
This could be because of the physical action of cleaning the coupons mobilised bacteria in the biofilms.
In the study it has been suspected since their discovery that dry surface biofilms in the hospital environment present a reservoir for the transmission of microbes that cause hospital infections. Although performed in a laboratory setting, this study provides compelling evidence that dry surface biofilms on hospital surfaces present a clinical risk.
Don’t miss out the chance to hear from Durdhana Chowdhary as she highlights her research on “Dry surface biofilm as a persistent source of pathogens in hospitals: decontamination & infection control” at the 5th Annual Infection Prevention and Control Conference on the 9th of April 2019, Melbourne.
She will be sharing her insights from her study on:
- How biofilm can be transferred to the hands and other surfaces to play a role in HAI
- Effective disinfectants against dry surface biofilm: to what extent they remove biofilm
- How biological soil hampers proper hospital surface cleaning and how much the current cleaning procedure is effective against biofilm bacteria
The 5th Annual Infection Prevention & Control Conference on 9th April 2019 in Melbourne will address how to strengthen communication between clinicians, executives and medical professionals, revisions to the standard 3 requirements, and how to deal with the emergence of multi-resistant organisms.