Bacteria growing more resistant to hospital disinfectants, study finds

Bacteria growing more resistant to hospital disinfectants, study finds

New research indicates that hand sanitizers based on alcohol disinfectants are not sufficient to eliminate certain superbugs, also known as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

VRE is risky as it can cause urinary tract, wound and bloodstream infections that are notoriously hard to treat, mainly because they are resistant to several classes of antibiotics.

Hand sanitisers being used to try and keep infections at bay on hospital wards are becoming increasingly useless as "superbug" bacterias are proving resistant to them.

Writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team said efforts to combat superbugs should focus on how bacteria become resistant to disinfectants as well as antibiotics.

Yet while rates of MRSA and other infections have stabilised due to heightened hygiene, Stinear said, VRE infection rates have not.

They discovered that the samples that were taken after 2009 were more resistant to alcohol than those collected prior to 2004.

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He added: "Alcohol-based hand hygiene use has increased tenfold over the past 20 years in Australian hospitals, so we are using a lot and the environment is changing".

The researchers then used a mouse infection model to assess the clinical relevance of this increased alcohol tolerance, coating the floors of mice cages with the E faecium isolates and then wiping them down with a solution containing 70% isopropyl alcohol-the amount contained in alcohol-based hand rubs.

Alcohol-based disinfectants and particularly handrubs are a key way to control hospital infections worldwide.

As the co-author of the study, Paul Johnson, a professor of infectious diseases at the Austin Health in Australia reported, the results should not cause a significant decrease in the regular use of alcohol disinfectants.

"Alcohol-based hand rubs are global pillars of hospital infection control and remain highly effective in reducing transmission of other hospital superbugs, particularly MRSA", he said.

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