Missing in the recent news about the success of real and synthetic fecal transplants to treat patients with severe intestinal infections is the reminder that all is for naught if these same patients are returned to hospital rooms infected with the scourge of healthcare – Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), says George Clarke, CEO of UMF Corporation, a leading developer of infection prevention products.
Clarke’s comments come as two new studies published this month demonstrated how transplanting feces, from a healthy person or using a synthetic stool, can successfully treat people with infections from C. difficile.
“These are breakthrough studies in many ways,” Clarke says. “They provide the kind of evidence that skeptics of the transplants were looking for; they give physicians and patients hope where antibiotic C. difficile treatments have failed; they open the door to one day similarly fighting other conditions that stem from intestinal problems. No doubt, and with good reason, we’ll see a rise in fecal transplants, real and synthetic alike.”
But, Clarke says, “The fact is, the transplant is not a vaccine,” he added. “Even though the transplant reintroduces to the gut a normal balance of bacteria, a person can become re-infected. To transplant feces and expect success is foolish if the patient is being reintroduced into an environment that has not been rendered C. difficile free through effective processing by the environmental services (EVS) staff.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of infections and death from C. difficile have climbed to historic highs and this threat is a patient safety concern that remains in all medical facilities.
The role of hospital surfaces in the transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens like C. difficile (and norovirus and Acinetobacter species) has been well documented, Clarke says.
“But it has also been shown that transmission of these HAI pathogens can be disrupted – dramatically – by consistent daily cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (environmental hygiene) combined with appropriate hand hygiene,” he says.
Clarke adds that, if anything, the success of fecal transplants calls for a greater medical, clinical and practical collaboration between the transplant and the removal of C. difficile that is found in feces and on many surfaces of patient rooms. “Between those who treat – and those who prevent – C. difficile,” he says. “There’s a clear case here of the clinical benefits of having EVS, the first line of defense against preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), play a more significant role in strategic quality initiatives,” Clarke says.
Innovators and specialists in environmental hygiene, UMF Corporation delivers advanced, patented antimicrobial technology with industry-leading PerfectCLEAN® products, education, training, motivation and support.
Source: UMF Corporation