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Comparative evaluation of the microbicidal activity of low-temperature sterilization technologies to steam sterilization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2020

William A. Rutala*
Affiliation:
Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Maria F. Gergen
Affiliation:
Lumagenics, Cary, North Carolina
Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett
Affiliation:
Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Department of Hospital Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Health Care, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
David J. Weber
Affiliation:
Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Department of Hospital Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Health Care, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
*
Author for correspondence: William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH, CIC, UNC, E-mail: brutala@med.unc.edu

Abstract

Objective:

To compare the microbicidal activity of low-temperature sterilization technologies (vaporized hydrogen peroxide [VHP], ethylene oxide [ETO], and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma [HPGP]) to steam sterilization in the presence of salt and serum to simulate inadequate precleaning.

Methods:

Test carriers were inoculated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Mycobacterium terrae, Bacillus atrophaeus spores, Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, or Clostridiodes difficile spores in the presence of salt and serum and then subjected to 4 sterilization technologies: steam, ETO, VHP and HPGP.

Results:

Steam, ETO, and HPGP sterilization techniques were capable of inactivating the test organisms on stainless steel carriers with a failure rate of 0% (0 of 220), 1.9% (6 of 310), and 1.9% (5 of 270), respectively. The failure rate for VHP was 76.3% (206 of 270).

Conclusion:

Steam sterilization is the most effective and had the largest margin of safety, followed by ETO and HPGP, but VHP showed much less efficacy.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© 2020 by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. All rights reserved

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