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Endoscope-associated infections are reported despite following proper reprocessing methods. Microbiological testing can confirm the adequacy of endoscope reprocessing. Multiple controversies related to the method and interpretation of microbiological testing cultures have arisen that make their routine performance a complex target.
We conducted a pilot study using disposable bronchoscopes (DBs) to simulate different reprocessing times and soaking times and to compare high-level disinfection versus ethylene oxide sterilization. We also reviewed the time to reprocessing and duration of the procedures.
Bronchoscopes were chosen because an alternative disposable scope is commercially available and because bronchoscopes are more prone to delays in processing. Disposable bronchoscopes were contaminated using a liquid bacterial suspension and were then incubated for 1–4 hours. Standard processing and high-level disinfection were performed on 36 endoscopes. Ethylene oxide sterilization was performed on 21 endoscopes. Endoscope cultures were performed using the standard “brush, flush, brush” technique.
After brushing was performed, a final water-flush culture procedure was the most effective method of detecting bacterial persistence on the disposable scopes. Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most commonly recovered organism after reprocessing. Ethylene oxide sterilization did not result in total elimination of viable bacteria.
Routine endoscopy cultures may be required to assess the adequacy of endoscopic processing.
To evaluate the efficacy of a new monochloramine generation system for control of Legionella in a hospital hot water distribution system
A 495-bed tertiary care hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The hospital has 12 floors covering approximately 78,000 m2.
The hospital hot water system was monitored for a total of 29 months, including a 5-month baseline sampling period prior to installation of the monochloramine system and 24 months of surveillance after system installation (postdisinfection period). Water samples were collected for microbiological analysis (Legionella species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Acinetobacter species, nitrifying bacteria, heterotrophic plate count [HPC] bacteria, and nontuberculous mycobacteria). Chemical parameters monitored during the investigation included monochloramine, chlorine (free and total), nitrate, nitrite, total ammonia, copper, silver, lead, and pH.
A significant reduction in Legionella distal site positivity was observed between the pre- and postdisinfection periods, with positivity decreasing from an average of 53% (baseline) to an average of 9% after monochloramine application (P > .05). Although geometric mean HPC concentrations decreased by approximately 2 log colony-forming units per milliliter during monochloramine treatment, we did not observe significant changes in other microbial populations.
This is the first evaluation in the United States of a commercially available monochloramine system installed on a hospital hot water system for Legionella disinfection, and it demonstrated a significant reduction in Legionella colonization. Significant increases in microbial populations or other negative effects previously associated with monochloramine use in large municipal cold water systems were not observed.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(11):1356–1363
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