Infection control: News round-up

A round-up of the latest advances in infection control and bug-busting activities in the NHS and private healthcare sector

Legionella scare in Warwick

BOTTLED water has been brought in at St Michaels Hospital in Warwick after deadly Legionella was found during routine maintenance. Showering and bathing has also been curtailed while experts look at the problem. Nigel Barton of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Our paramount concern is the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors using the St Michael’s site, and as a result we have acted promptly to deal with this matter. We are advised that, as long as everyone using the site continues to follow the advice provided, we have taken all reasonable steps to minimise any possible risk.” So far there have been no reports of any staff or patients contracting the disease and it is not known how long it will take to get the all clear.

 

3-year deal helps in bug battle

TAMESIDE Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has entered into a three-year purchasing commitment with Vernacare to guarantee best value on supplies of its disposable pulp products. The single-use items also help the trust reduce its carbon footprint and the risks of infection. Josie Dickinson, senior infection prevention and control nurse at the trust, said: "Vernacare's pulp products are crucial to reducing infection risk and saving nursing time. We find that patient approval is also very high as they realise the hygiene benefits. In addition to the infection prevention benefits, the Vernacare system of macerating used pulp supports the trust's sustainability agenda. The waste breaks down in the macerator and flushes away through the drains using cold water. This also saves money on energy and clinical waste disposal.”

Firms get behind copper

The results of research conducted by specialists across the world has shown that the antimicrobial benefits of copper far outweigh any other product on the market

With growing evidence of the positive impact of copper touch surfaces on curbing the spread of infection, UK firms are launching a number of products aimed at healthcare environments. AS Hardware has unveiled a range of medical equipment including IV drop poles and dressings trolleys in a silver-look copper alloy that helps to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi between cleans. In addition, Pegler Yorkshire is offering a range of hospital taps in brass – a copper allow known for its antimicrobial properties. Mike Dickinson of Pegler Yorkshire said: “As the healthcare industry strives to prevent the transfer of infectious bacteria, and with taps being one fitting in a hospital that are continuously used, it is imperative that manufacturers develop new products to help combat this issue. The results of research conducted by specialists across the world has shown that the antimicrobial benefits of copper far outweigh any other product on the market.”

Breakthrough in C.diff fight

RESEARCHERS have made a breakthrough in aiding infection control in hospitals, with early trials of a new antibiotic effective against all strains of C.difficile. Developed with the support of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Translation Award, the NVB302 compound is currently being tested for the first time in humans. It is hoped it will help in the fight again drug resistance, which is a growing threat to the control of infection in health and social care environments. Ted Bianco of the Wellcome Trust said: “C.difficileis a particularly insidious infection that catches people at their most vulnerable. With the ever-present threat of increasing drug resistance, taking this new antibiotic into clinical trials is a significant step on the road to replenishing our depleted medicine cabinet.” The medicine belongs to a class of drug known as type B lantibiotics and is being developed by Novacta.

New air disinfection unit launched

While large-scale operations and protocols are now in place to ensure the cleanliness of a hospital’s clinical surfaces, no universal strategy has been trialled for the air - leaving it as the last major source of transmission

AERTE has launched a new air disinfection unit targeted at the healthcare sector. The AD 2.0 model is designed to continuously eliminate airborne healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) including MRSA, C.difficile and Norovirus. A wall-mounted system, it can disinfect any room up to a maximum volume of 300 cubic metres and, as well as removing airborne pathogens, has been found to reduce viruses present on surfaces by more than 20%. The unit is designed to be used with a consumable cartridge containing a reagent, which is ionised and reacted with traces of ozone, resulting in the generation of hydroxyl ‘free radicals’. Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, and an independent advisor to Aerte, said: “Over the last 10 years we have made enormous strides in tackling the spread and prevalence of HCAIs. However, while large-scale operations and protocols are now in place to ensure the cleanliness of a hospital’s clinical surfaces, no universal strategy has been trialled for the air - leaving it as the last major source of transmission. By using products that eliminate airborne pathogens we will have a complete solution where all possible causes of transmission have been addressed.”

Dumfries medics slammed

MANAGERS at Dumfries Infirmary in Scotland have pledged to improve hand hygiene standards among senior medics after a survey revealed it has the worst record for compliance in the country. Statistics showed a compliance rate among doctors of just 86%, compared to 97% for nurses and 100% for other healthcare professionals at the hospital. Dr Angus Cameron, medical director at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said the situation was unacceptable, despite the fact the hospital’s infection rates were relatively low. He added: “The important thing, I guess, to provide reassurance is that what really matters is the outcome to patients. We know, for example, that our surgical site infection rate is actually very, very good and it has come down considerably, so we are doing well there.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS:
A new product has been launched aimed at helping in the fight against Legionella. B&V Water Treatment has unveiled Absolux, which research has shown substantially eliminates pathogens within seconds.

Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has extended its contract with Synergy Health, entering into a new sterile services agreement for the decontamination of surgical instruments.

Companies