In both studies, two interventions played a major role. The first addresses the degree of splashing and is more complicated as it typically involves the renovation or replacement of the sinks in favour of those that are engineered to minimalize splashing. The second intervention seeks to address the contamination at the source, so as to prevent the potential for transmission to other surfaces even if there is some splashing. This involves the thorough cleaning and disinfection of the sink drain on a regular basis. Unfortunately, because the sink drain is not only a perfect breeding ground for bacteria but also the ideal environment for the establishment of biofilm this tends to be a more involved task than everyday cleaning and disinfection. In these situations particularly close attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the disinfectant remains wet on the surface for the required contact time. This can prove difficult in a sink drain where a liquid disinfectant solution typically has fleeting contact with the contaminated surface as it races down the drain. Therefore, preference should be given to rapid acting disinfectants and those that may be available in gelled formats which ensure adhesion to the surface and subsequent contact time compliance. An equally important consideration is the type of disinfectant chosen for the application. Preference should be given to oxidizing chemistries (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, chlorine based solutions) as they will chemically work to lift and remove the biofilm from the surface. Other chemistries such as quaternary ammonium compounds are generally ineffective at penetrating and removing the biofilm. In addition to selecting the appropriate disinfectant, the utilization of a tool to effectively clean the drains should also be strongly considered.
So does your facility have a procedure in place to ensure that your sink drains won’t be the cause of your next outbreak?
Hasta la vista
Lee – The Germinator