Cleaning the hospital 'grey zone' lowers infection risk

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Thorough cleaning of single-patient hospital rooms, including "grey zones", or the areas commonly glossed over in the cleaning process, can lower the risk of antibiotic resistant infection, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

For the study, researchers conducted an intervention at two structurally different acute care medical wards over the span of six months each. In addition to the care facility's routine cleaning measures, additional cleaning was performed on patient care items that had previously gone uncleaned. After the implementation of the new cleaning measures, the rate of transmission for vancomycin-resistant enterococci underwent a two-fold decrease on the wards where patients had private rooms.

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However, grey zone cleaning had no effect on VRE infection reduction in rooms with multiple occupants. Also, no infection reduction for Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium difficile was measurable during the course of the intervention.

The authors concluded, "Our data provide evidence that targeted cleaning interventions can reduce VRE transmission when rooming conditions are optimized; such interventions can be cost-effective when the burden of VRE is significant."

More articles on infection control: 
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17 meningitis cases in LA; officials encourage vaccinations

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