Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to as C.diff, is a grave concern for hospitals — and for good reason. The infection can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to inflammation of the colon that, if serious enough, may result death. More than a half million people deal with C. diff in the United States each year and the infection is becoming even more common, according to the Mayo Clinic. Aware of this, hospitals take extra steps to ensure breakouts of the infection are kept to a minimum. But this can be difficult when the infection shows resistance to even disinfection procedures.
In a study conducted by the American Society for Microbiology, surgical gowns and stainless steel remained contaminated with C. diff even after being treated with the correct amount of disinfectant. The research was recently published in the society’s journal, “Applied and Environmental Microbiology.”
Researchers found issue with the design of hospital gowns, concluding single use gowns are unable to trap C. diff spores within their fibers, allowing the infection to be spread further. This conclusion also proved single use gowns should be disposed of before the person wearing it exits their single occupancy room.
In their work, researchers discovered that C. diff spores were able to grow post decontamination. This demonstrates that the spores are becoming resistant to disinfectants and that hospitals must now reevaluate their procedures, says Dr. Tina Joshi, principal investigator to the study. Joshi says hospitals should now reconsider how much biocide they currently used to disinfect.
Other studies have found that C. Diff can be resistant to disinfection. Research published in 2017 found that C. Diff spores thrived in the floor corners of healthcare facilities after terminal or hydrogen peroxide disinfection.