Airborne Transmission: Are hand hygiene and surface cleaning enough?

CLINICAL SERVICES JOURNAL, DECEMBER 2022

Carole Hallam argues that the use of air decontamination systems to improve indoor air quality should be considered as part of Trusts’ infection prevention and control strategies. She warns that hand hygiene and surface cleaning are not enough. Click here to read the full article.

The burden of healthcare associated infections (HCAI) is a major concern across the world with an estimated 8.8 million patients affected across Europe in both acute and long-term care facilities with more than half being preventable.

Not only does HCAI result in poor outcomes for patients in terms of morbidity and mortality and but it also has a huge cost to healthcare providers. Modelled annual costs to the NHS are in the region of £2.7 billion and an estimated extended length of hospital stay of up to 25 days – what else could that money be usefully spent on and how else could the hospital beds be better utilised?

In addition to the costs and extended length of stay for patients with an HCAI, there is an even bigger concern around the growing incidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

One in three microorganisms causing HCAI are resistant to at least one antibiotic making these infections harder to treat. With an estimated 4.95 million deaths globally associated with bacterial AMR in 2019 there has never been a more important time to prevent HCAIs.

Therefore, the principles of infection prevention and control are an essential strategy for preventing infections and the cornerstone in combating the spread of AMR. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has seen an increase in HCAI and an overuse of antibiotics increasing the risk of AMR, so they could not be a better time review infection prevention and control practices and to act.

CLICK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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