The public associate visibly dirty wards with increasing rates of MRSA, but there is little evidence for the effectiveness of basic cleaning on reducing the risk of acquiring MRSA in health-care institutions. Furthermore, hospital hygiene is usually assessed visually, but this does not necessarily correlate with microbiological risk and fails to recognise that microorganisms, including human pathogens such as MRSA, are invisible to the naked eye*. However, the current standards for assessing hospital hygiene use visible cleanliness as a performance criterion.
Dr Stephanie Dancer (South General Hospital, Glasgow, UK) presents a robust case for targeted hospital cleaning as a strategy for controlling MRSA by reviewing the evidence for the potential impact of cleaning on each stage of the staphylococcal transmission cycle between patients, staff, and their environment. The author notes that cleaning is already accepted as an important factor in the control of other hardy environmental pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, norovirus, and Acinetobacter spp, but argues that the role of near-patient hand-touch sites—such as door handles, bed rails, infusion pumps, and switches— in the transmission of MRSA and other pathogens, has not been given the priority it deserves.
According Dr Dancer, in the UK, ward cleaners work to a set specification that gives emphasis to the cleaning of floors and toilets, and yet the evidence for MRSA contamination of a huge variety of hospital items, and particularly hand-touch sites is overwhelming. Indeed, the author notes that these hand-touch sites, which might harbour and transmit microbial pathogens, are poorly cleaned.
The author concludes: “There can be no doubt that prioritising hand hygiene is the single most beneficial intervention in the control of MRSA…[but] even if everyone does wash their hands properly, the effects of exemplary hand hygiene are eroded if the environment is heavily contaminated by MRSA”. She goes on: “The increasing prevalence of MRSA and other multi-drug-resistant bacteria in UK hospitals support prioritisation of cleaning and other control measures before definitive validation”.
Tony Kirby | alfa
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The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
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