Providers struggling to find adequate cleaners to battle Acinetobacter baumannii bug

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A new study of provider practices found that multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii was found in hospital rooms even after they were cleaned, according to a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

University of Maryland researchers took nearly 500 cultures from 32 hospital rooms after patients with a history of MDR A. baumannii were discharged. More than half of the rooms that tested positive for the A. baumannii bacteria prior to cleaning remained contaminated after terminal cleaning.

Fifteen rooms (47%) and 41 sites (n=268, 15%) tested positive for multidrug-resistant A. baumannii before cleaning. Post-cleaning, eight rooms (25%) and 12 sites (n=219, 5.5 percent) still tested positive for the pathogen. Post-cleaning contamination was discovered on floors (12.5%), call buttons (10%), door handles (9%), bedside tables (7%), and supply carts (4%).

“Current cleaning techniques in terms of products used or thoroughness of cleaning may not be adequate in the decontamination of this pathogen,” report authors stated.

Acinetobacter baumannii is resistant to antibiotics and is increasingly found in healthcare facilities, experts say, adding that infections from the bacteria primarily occur in seriously ill, wounded, or immunocompromised patients. The germ's ability to live on wet or dry surfaces makes it harder to eradicate. 

"With new, innovative means of monitoring cleaning processes that we have incorporated since the study was done, coupled with other infection control efforts, we are seeing lower rates of A. baumannii at our hospital," said Anthony D. Harris, M.D., MPH, lead study author and professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

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