Disinfectants may be a double-edged sword in the fight against hospital-borne diseases, scientists say.
According to a study to be published in January’s issue of Microbiology, researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway slowly introduced higher levels of disinfectant to lab cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which lives in the soil and water around us. It can’t seriously hurt healthy people (it’s been implicated in “hot tub itch” and “swimmer’s ear”) but preys on those with compromised immune systems. This opportunistic pathogen can infect the lungs, joints, burn wounds, take advantage of a compromised urinary tract or cause blood diseases. The bacterium can live in man-made environments and colonize catheters and other medical equipment. It’s ideally suited for hospital transmission – the Online Textbook of Bacteriology calls it “the fourth most commonly-isolated nosocomial pathogen accounting for 10.1 percent of all hospital-acquired infections” – but it can infect anyone whose defenses have been weakened, whether from chemotherapy or diabetes, cystic fibrosis or AIDS.
After gradually upping the dose of benzalkonium chloride, an antiseptic used in products that include eyedrops and wet wipes, researchers had on their hands a Frankensteinian pathogen that showed a 12-fold resistance to the common disinfectant. (Generally, showing four or five times the normal resistance level is enough to earn a newer, nastier disease “superbug” status.)
Even worse, that same variant of P. aeruginosadisplayed a whopping 256-fold increase in resistance to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin – even though it had never been exposed to the drug before. That’s worrisome, since the commonly prescribed Cipro has been used to treat such high-profile pathogens as anthrax spores.
The upshot? That hospitals that don’t use enough disinfectant to kill every last bacterium on a given surface could provide an ideal breeding ground for new superbugs. These mutations could become virtually immune to prevention and treatment.
“The message, for heaven’s sake, is use disinfectants properly,” lead author Gerard Fleming said in an interview. “The first line of defense is disinfection. The second line of defense is antibiotics.”
By misusing disinfectants, he concluded, “You're making an environment where you've now lost the first and second lines of defense.”
There’s a dangerous tendency toward using disinfectants as a clean-all, Fleming said, when there was a much more potent, proven remedy to rid oneself of germs.
“Soap and water. I am not messing with you,” Fleming said. “Why doesn’t the surgeon, when he’s going into the theater, just take a hand sanitizer? Why does he go to the sink and scrub and scrub and scrub? Because he’s physically removing the bacteria.”
While researching this topic, I asked a relative for some practical advice to rid my house of cigarette smoke. Their answer was immediate an...
A question always asked around the net can be answered visiting http://www.kaufda.de/umwelt/carbon-neutral/1-tree-1-blog-how-it-works/ ...
New 24-hour hotline set to help stink-fighting Kingston residents - Local News - News - Moorabbin LeaderNew 24-hour hotline set to help stink-fighting Kingston residents - Local News - News - Moorabbin Leader : "DISAFFECTED residents in Cl...
Review A gripping, brilliantly told tale of the secret and deadly struggle between American national security and the kings of the oce...
A Delaware corporation and a numbered Nova Scotia company are suing a Nova Scotia couple for the costs of remediating two Bedford properties...
Booming Waikato milk production has caused more complaints about smelly dairy waste, this time at Waharoa, near Matamata, where Open Country...
A mixture of plant oils, bacterial spores and ozone is responsible for the powerful scent of fresh rain. Image via Wikimedia Commons/Juni ...
The Hindu : Cities / Visakhapatnam : Steps being taken to contain industrial pollution in city, says APPCBThe Hindu : Cities / Visakhapatnam : Steps being taken to contain industrial pollution in city, says APPCB
I recently moved into a new apartment. The refrigerator has an ice-maker, but the ice from it tastes musty. I let the bucket fill up. Then I...
Types of Perfume (Determined by the amount of solvent mix and fragrance oil ) are these: 1. Perfume has 20-40% aromatic compounds; 2. Eau...