Five Steps to Stop the Spread of <em>C. auris</em> in Hospitals
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HospitalsSeptember 14, 2021

Five Steps to Stop the Spread of C. auris in Hospitals

by Halosil

As C. auris outbreaks have been increasing across the US, the time to act is now.

C. auris is classified as a dangerous emerging fungus and “superbug.” It was first identified in 2009, and according to the CDC, currently presents a serious global health threat. This pathogen is often resistant to antifungal drugs and is difficult to identify through standard laboratory methods. For these reasons, it has caused many recent outbreaks in healthcare settings—especially with increased hospital occupancy and a greater singular focus on COVID-19.

C. auris is of the few Candida strains that can affect humans—and as infections pass from person to person they can become severe or fatal. So, it’s essential to quickly identify C. auris in healthcare facilities and implement infection prevention strategies so that its spread can be stopped.

According to a recent article in Healthcare Facilities Today by infection prevention expert J. Darrel Hicks, the options for effective antifungal medications are drastically narrowing, so healthcare’s main focus should be on stopping C. auris infections before they start. There are a few concrete steps to take—including rapid detection of the disease, better hand hygiene, and properly disinfected surfaces—to prevent C. auris infections from happening in the first place.

Environmental services, infection prevention specialists, and healthcare teams should follow these five steps to help prevent the spread of C. auris.

Step 1 – Create an Infection Prevention Assessment

A healthcare facility’s safety and risk management team should first create and document a thorough infection prevention assessment that reflects their infection prevention strategy in the event of a C. auris outbreak.

If an outbreak occurs, hospitals must have a defined process for notifying the environmental services team, as well as other departments like nursing and emergency, when patients with C. auris are identified and isolated. As the nursing staff is often in charge of cleaning and disinfecting patient care equipment and machines in contact precaution situations, they should be fully versed in disinfection strategies and procedures in order to be the first line against the spread of C. auris. They should be able to effectively control and prevent the spread of the pathogen by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment, and, if necessary, patient rooms.  

Step 2 – Choose a Disinfection Solution that’s EPA-Registered

Healthcare teams must use a disinfectant that meets the CDC’s guidance for effective disinfection against the notoriously difficult to kill C. auris pathogen. The team should first check for a C. auris kill claim on the product label. There are several disinfectants approved for a wet spray application that now have a C. auris kill claim. Or, the team should use a disinfectant on the EPA’s List K for antimicrobial products effective against C. difficile spores; List K includes disinfectants that have whole-room fogging claims against C. diff spores.

Step 3 – Ensure Material Compatibility and Safety Around Sensitive Equipment

Before using the disinfectant solution on equipment and machines, disinfection teams should check for material compatibility. Contact time affects efficacy, but some harsh solutions could damage sensitive medical equipment over time. Read the equipment manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting their product and ensure the disinfection solution chosen aligns with those recommendations. Choosing a disinfectant that is proven to be safe for use around all types of technology, however, will ensure there are no equipment compromises.

Step 4 – Isolate C. auris-Infected Patients and Wear Proper PPE

When C. auris is determined to be present, patients must be placed in isolation immediately until they are discharged or until the condition is resolved. An isolated patient’s room should be disinfected at least twice per day by the nursing, environmental services, or disinfection team during the morning and evening shifts. Those who are performing disinfection tasks must wear proper PPE to protect themselves from contagious pathogens. These disinfection processes and procedures should also be properly documented.

Step 5 – Ensure Whole Room Disinfection with H202 Upon Patient Discharge

When the patient is discharged, comprehensive disinfection protocols must be followed to ensure the room is properly disinfected and no pathogen is left behind. A whole room disinfection system is the most effective way to kill all pathogens that may lurk in cracks and crevices where other disinfection solutions like UV lights, electrostatic sprayers, or air purifiers simply can’t reach.

The Halo Disinfection System® can be used for whole room disinfection, as it leverages the HaloFogger® to effectively dispense the hydrogen peroxide disinfectant HaloMist as a dry fog across entire rooms, killing pathogens in every nook and cranny. HaloMist (EPA Reg. No. 84526-6) appears on the EPA’s List K and meets EPA guidance for effective disinfection against C. auris as a whole room touchless terminal disinfection.

Stop the Spread of C. auris in Healthcare Facilities with a Proven System

Dealing with tough-to-kill pathogens like C. auris can be challenging, but with a proper disinfection plan in place it can be easier to tackle outbreaks when they happen—and even prevent them before they start.

Halosil understands the evolving disinfection demands of healthcare facilities, and our whole room disinfection system acts as healthcare’s first line of defense as it is capable of eliminating even the most persistent pathogens like C. auris. To learn more about disinfecting against C. auris pathogens in healthcare environments, contact Halosil today.

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