Fluorescent Marker May Help Improve Cleanliness of Hospital Surfaces

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gabriele Messina, MD  Dr.PH  MSc Research Professor of Public Health University of Siena Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine Area of Public Health. Room: 2057 Siena, Italy

Dr. Gabriele Messina

Gabriele Messina, MD  Dr.PH  MSc
Research Professor of Public Health
University of Siena
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine
Area of Public Health. Room: 2057
Siena, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Messina:  Studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s conferred to environmental surfaces a marginal role in the transmission of health care associated infections (HAIs). Today, it is demonstrated that several pathogens such as C. difficile, VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can survive even for months on inanimate surfaces. Up to 40% of HAIs can be spread by the hands of doctors and hospital staff after touching infected patient and/or contaminated surfaces; furthermore, people hospitalized in rooms previously occupied by patients infected by microorganism that can persist on surfaces present an increased  risk to develop HAIs.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Messina:  We found there is no agreement:

  • i) on how environmental surfaces should be cleaned,
  • ii) on the meaning of the word “clean” and
  • iii) on acceptable levels of contamination of a specific surface.

    The need to provide validated methods to define the level of cleanliness of health care facilities is strongly felt due to the common practice of outsourcing hospital cleaning services and to hospital cost-saving policy. Several methods to assess cleanliness have been suggested, such as visual inspection, microbial count and bioluminescence. In our study we demonstrated that a fluorescent marker could be a valid tool for assessing the successful removal of dirt/microbial contamination. In addition, the method is inexpensive and easy to apply; it also allows a rapid assessment and does not require special training for proper use.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Messina:  In our study we suggested how to implement fluorescent marker with bioluminescence and microbiological methods. The use of one of these procedures should not exclude the others, since each analyses different aspects of the operations required to achieve environmental cleanliness.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Messina:  In assessing hospital cleanliness, studies shown that results obtained with fluorescent marker, bioluminescence and microbiological methods do not often correlate: further studies are needed to verify whether it is possible to standardize, and consequently to make proper comparisons among the 3 different methods, within several health care settings. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Use of a fluorescent marker for assessing hospital bathroom cleanliness

Fattorini, Mattia et al.

American Journal of Infection Control , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2016.03.030
Published Online:May 11, 2016

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Last Updated on May 14, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD