Biofilms on Surfaces – The Unseen Health Hazard

Biofilms on Surfaces: The Unseen Health Hazard

Biofilms, often unseen, pose a significant risk in healthcare environments, clinging to hard surfaces and medical instruments. These biofilms act as shields for multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), aiding in the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Key Aspects of Biofilms:

  • Surface biofilms, increasingly resistant to antibiotics and antimicrobials, form when microbes like bacteria and fungi adhere to surfaces. These biofilms protect the microbes from external threats, including antimicrobial agents.
  • Different microbial species within a biofilm can exchange antibiotic resistance genes, complicating treatment.
  • Notably, 65%-80% of chronic infections are biofilm-related. Bacteria in biofilms can show up to a 1,000-fold increase in antibiotic resistance and be 1,500 times less susceptible to disinfectants.

Transmission Risks:

  • Biofilms on various surfaces, including plastic, stainless steel, and textiles, endanger both patients and healthcare workers, harboring pathogens that can cause difficult-to-treat infections.
  • They can persist for extended periods and a single touch can transfer biofilm bacteria, contaminating other surfaces.

Disinfectant Challenges:

  • Most disinfectants struggle to penetrate biofilms and prevent their regrowth. Even effective products might not kill primary biofilm-forming MDROs or may be hazardous to health.
  • Research shows the limited effectiveness of disinfectants, including bleach and hydrogen peroxide, against biofilms.

Biofilm-Forming Superbugs:

  • A wide range of microbes, including both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and fungi, form biofilms. This includes all five major “superbugs” contributing to most HAIs.

Combating Biofilms:

  • Eradicating MDROs in biofilms can significantly reduce HAIs. Key strategies include educating healthcare teams, implementing targeted cleaning protocols, employing advanced disinfection technologies, and using biocidal agents with proven efficacy against a range of pathogens and biofilms.

The Role of NaDCC Chemistry:

  • NaDCC chemistry has shown significant effectiveness against surface biofilms and MDROs. Its use can reduce both direct and cross transmission of biofilm bacteria and prevent their recovery.

The message is clear: if a disinfectant doesn’t target biofilms, it’s not fully effective. Incorporating products like EvaClean’s PurOne NaDCC Cleaner and Disinfectant into cleaning protocols is essential for combating biofilms and reducing HAIs, without compromising human health.


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