A recent study from FEMS Microbiology Letters found C.difficile contamination at an industrial laundry facility, identifying C.diff as both a hospital and community acquired infection. Researchers found that a significant 21% of the samples collected in the areas contaminated by soiled linens were positive for C.diff.
Although the vast majority of C.diff infections occur in the healthcare setting, the groundbreaking FEMS study proves the growing threat of the pathogen in non-healthcare settings. According to the CDC, C.diff causes approximately half a million reported infections in the U.S. each year. However, according to a USA today article, only two thirds of patients infected with C. diff had a recent hospital stay.
The presence of C.diff in settings beyond the hospital has significant implications for every stakeholder in the healthcare value chain. Of course, C. diff in the hospital setting is dangerous enough, claiming the lives of thousands of patients each year. However, as soon as spores make their way outside of the hospital, their danger becomes even more severe by putting a significantly greater number of individuals at risk of infection.
For example, the study also found pathogens on linen delivery trucks, a finding that implies even clean linens can be impacted and hospitals can cross contaminate one another. While hospitals remain at the epicenter of C.diff contamination and attention, we are now seeing that C.diff can quickly spread beyond the hospital’s doors.
For hospitals, this means that the stakeholders involved in HAIs extend beyond those in immediate proximity to the hospital—including personnel working at commercial laundry facilities and even patients in other health systems. In other words, a hospital with subpar infection control efforts may unintentionally perpetuate the cycle of infection outside its patient population. This underscores the importance of an industry-wide effort to raise the standard for acceptable efficacy to the maximum 99.9999% kill rate of C. diff spores.
A second takeaway is that whole room disinfection is not just a practice for hospitals. In fact, as evidenced by the study, other non-healthcare facilities must take HAI prevention just as seriously. Leveraging flexible systems like the HaloFogger® FLX model, commercial laundry facilities must also join the fight against C. diff by developing their own whole room disinfection regimens—both in vehicles and on premises. Systems like the HaloFogger® FLX model, which are optimized for disinfecting multiple spaces in rapid succession, are a ready match for ambulatory vehicles and in this case, linen delivery vehicles.
Finally, in light of the recent study, is also important to note that, as the number of C.diff pathogens increases, killing the bacteria proves more and more difficult. C. diff is among the most formidable antibiotic resistant infections known to man. As a result, healthcare and non-healthcare professionals alike are encouraged to identify a whole room disinfection system that applies multiple mechanisms of killing action—systems to which C. diff has not exhibited any resistance.
As creators of the Halo Disinfection System®, we firmly believe that consistent and rigorous whole room disinfection efforts have the power to turn the tides of C. diff infection. A solution like ours, which does not make compromises between efficacy, affordability and easy operationalization, is precisely what the industry needs to defeat the threat at hand.
The Halo Disinfection System is the only operationally friendly solution to have an EPA-validated 6-log kill rate, proven to kill 99.9999% of C.diff spores. This is the highest possible validated efficacy and the only level of efficacy suited to defeat the formidable threat of C. diff.