British researchers claim that improper use of disinfectant wipes in medical and health care facilities may do more harm than good. These wipes might be disseminating drug-resistant organisms instead of removing or destroying them.

Studies of two Welsh hospitals’ intensive care units indicated that cleaning with disinfectant wipes might not be sufficient especially if the wipes are not replaced frequently. Research indicates that a significant number of health care employees wipe down numerous surfaces that are in close proximity to patients with a single wipe, including bed rails, tables and equipment. Doing so increases the likelihood that infection and germs will be transferred to other areas rather than be eliminated.

Microbiologist Gareth Williams of Britain’s Cardiff University also reported that the anti-bacterial wipes transported “superbugs” to more than one location.  

According to Williams, “The most effective way to prevent the risk of spreading MRSA in medical and health care facilities is to guarantee an anti-bacterial wipe is used on a single surface.”

Dr. Williams presented the findings at the American Society of Microbiology’s 108th General Meeting.


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Research Brief: Improper Use of Disinfectant Wipes May Be Harmful:  Created on November 28th, 2009.  Last Modified on November 28th, 2009


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