Textiles are a source of bacterial infection, study finds

Published: 21-Sep-2011

X-Static antimicrobial fibre technology could offer protection

Soft surface textiles are significant sources of bacterial contamination in healthcare settings, with 63% of doctor and nurse uniforms testing positive for pathogenic organisms, including those that are multi-drug resistant (11%), a new study has found.

The study was conducted by the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem and looked at 238 samples from 135 of their hospital personnel, 60 (45%) doctors and 75 (55%) nurses.

The results are published in the American Journal of Infection Control (Vol. 39 No. 7 pps 555-559).

The study also cited the lack of standardised protocols for laundering of uniforms. Forty per cent of participants laundered their uniforms at home and just 58% said they changed their uniform every day. Furthermore “the rate of contamination with resistant pathogens was higher in attire changed every two days compared with that changed every day (29% versus 8%)”.

Soft surface textiles account for 90% of the healthcare patient environment and include patient gowns, privacy curtains and bed linens. Of the 238 samples obtained in the study, 119 (50%) were positive for any pathogen; most with one pathogen (94 cultures; 79% of the positive cultures) and fewer with two or three different pathogens (21; 18% ) and 4 (3%) of the positive cultures, respectively). There were no significant differences between the gowns worn by doctors and nurses. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were isolated from at least one site of the gowns in 85 of the 135 participants (63%).

According to Joel Furey, president of Noble Biomaterials' Healthcare Division, a US manufacturer of antimicrobial technologies, based in Scranton, PA, this study further underscores the need for healthcare settings to do all they can to minimise – and eliminate – patient risk of contamination including creating and enforcing standardised guidelines for laundering.

“Today's healthcare bacterial management practices focus on hand hygiene and hard surface sanitisation. Fabrics made with X-Static silver fibres, have an antimicrobial fibre technology clinically proven to reduce 99.9% of bacteria and add a critical dimension to infection control efforts not currently being employed,” he said.

Noble Biomaterials’ X-Static antimicrobial technology is said to provide a simple and cost-effective method for hospitals to deliver a proven bacterial management solution for soft surface textile materials.

X-Static fibres are permanently bonded with a layer of 99.9% pure metallic silver, which creates an ionic shield that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi for the life of the product. This decreases the overall level of bacterial contamination, which would have the potential to transmit to the patient.

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