Hyderabad: Use of disinfectants in hospitals need to be regulated, a recent study published in Nature Microbiology has stated.
An otherwise safe disinfectant is found to cause resistance in bacteria, just as antibiotics do. The otherwise benign Staphy-lococcus epidermidis bacteria was found to have developed resistance to disinfectants that are used in high concentrations in intensive care units where the immune system of patients is compromised. The bacteria could not be removed despite the use of antibiotics.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is a type of bacteria found on the skin of healthy people and is considered harmless. But research has shown that it can also transfer genes to a major disease-causing bacteria called Staphyl-ococcus aureus which in turn would lead to the super bug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to several common antibiotics.
Dr A.V. Ratnam, senior hospital administrator, explained, “The problem arises because of the disinfection programme not being effectively carried out. If there is blood, mucus, or pus, which has been improperly disposed of, then the circulation of bacteria is quick and within a short time it can create resistant bacteria. The protocol of collecting samples every week, testing them and effectively reviewing the procedure of disinfection is a must and lapse in these leads to the development of resistant bacteria.”
The guidelines for use of disinfectants show that there are 99 clinical isolates to which bacteria can develop resistance. For this reason, seven major disinfectants have been shortlisted and their concentrations prescribed for use in hospitals to avoid bacteria developing resistance.
A senior microbiologist at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences explained, “Several studies carried out by hospitals have shown that conventional disinfectants like povidone iodine are an effective choice but novel quaternary ammonium compounds are the most applicable choice for disinfection in hospital surfaces and instruments. The bacteria develop resistance when the cleaning protocol is missed or the bio-medical waste disposal is not carried out within the stipulated time. These lapses allow for the growth and spread of bacteria in closed units and that is where the problem arises.”
The study of disinfectants becoming resistant to bacteria is an important aspect of hospital management as the antibiotic resistance alone is not an issue and it requires curtailing human activity, proper disposal of blood, mucus and pus from the sensitive environment in the hospital to prevent the growth of bacteria....