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Infection Prevention Leaders Evaluate Automated Area Decontamination at IFIC


Between 10th-13th October 2012 thought-leaders in infection prevention from all over the world met in Zagreb, Croatia, at the Twelfth Congress of The International Federation of Infection Control (IFIC). Automated disinfection processes were included on the official program for the first time displaying a significant step forward in the understanding and credibility of this method amongst infection prevention leaders.


A presentation made by Dr. William Rutala during the congress discussed the differences between manual and automated cleaning and disinfection processes, a topic which has recently commandeered a lot of attention within the infection prevention society. These discussions have been largely centred upon the effectiveness of each method in reducing the environmental load of pathogens which can cause healthcare associated infections (HAIs). 

The consensus of opinion suggests that manual cleaning continues to be an important and necessary first step in preparing a hospital room. The debate is now focusing on the role that automated processes can play in the disinfection of such areas, and the benefits these automated processes can have over current manual processes.

The biggest issue with any manual process, highlighted in Dr Rutala’s discussions, is its lack of consistency. Methods are varied; practices and implementation can vary greatly even from one person to another, with the margin for human error abundant. Manual decontamination can also expose healthcare employees to potentially damaging chemicals, placing them at risk in the work environment. In contrast, the consistency of automated processes for disinfection is regarded as one of the greatest advantages, ensuring a safe environement for the patients and staff and reducing the risk of transmission of HAIs. This was another aspect considered at IFIC in Dr Rutala’s discussion. The growing body of evidence supporting the role of the environment in the spread of HAIs implies an important role for automated area decontamination as it is beneficial in going beyond manual processes, to deliver a deeper and more effective level of surface decontamination.

The continued debate and evidence in support of both manual cleaning and automated disinfection processes would suggest a combined approach could be the most effective means of reducing the spread and cost of HAIs. For more information on the presentation made by Dr William Rutala, please click here to view.

Case studies and evidence to support the use of Automated Area Decontamination was also shared in a symposium led by Professor Jasenka Škrlin, and Dr Tim Boswell. Professor Škrlin shared her experiencing of evaluating and introducing the GLOSAIR™ technology into KB Dubrava Hospital in Croatia and Dr Boswell shared data from Nottingham University Hospital in the UK, where the implementation of GLOSAIR™ has helped to significantly reduce the number of cases of Clostridium Difficile infections and also to eradicate endemic and epidemic Multi-Resistant Acinetobacter in a burns unit.

For more info on the GLOSAIR™ technology and to learn about hospitals’ real life experience of using the technology please click here.


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