Eradicating C. diff Spores from Toilets of Hospitalized Patients

C. difficile spores in the environment of patients with C. difficile associated disease (CDAD) are difficult to eliminate. Bleach (5000 ppm) has been advocated as an effective disinfectant for the environmental surfaces of patients with CDAD. Few alternatives to bleach for non-outbreak conditions have been evaluated in controlled healthcare studies.

Alfa, et al. (2010) conducted a prospective clinical comparison during non-outbreak conditions of the efficacy of an accelerated hydrogen peroxide cleaner (0.5 percent AHP) to the currently used stabilized hydrogen peroxide cleaner (0.05 percent SHP at manufacturer recommended use-dilution) with respect to spore removal from toilets in a tertiary-care facility. The toilets used by patients who had diarrhea with and without CDAD were cultured for C. difficile and were monitored using an ultraviolet mark (UVM) to assess cleaning compliance on a daily basis 5 days per week. A total of 243 patients and 714 samples were analysed. The culture results were included in the analysis only if the UVM audit from the same day confirmed that the toilet had been cleaned.

The researchers report that their data demonstrated that the efficacy of spore killing is formulation specific and cannot be generalized. The OxivirTB AHP formulation resulted in statistically significantly (p = .0023) lower levels of toxigenic C. difficile spores in toilets of patients with CDAD compared to the SHP formulation that was routinely being used (28 percent vs 45 percent culture positive). The background level of toxigenic C. difficile spores was 10 percent in toilets of patients with diarrhea not due to CDAD. The UVM audit indicated that despite the enhanced twice-daily cleaning protocol for CDAD patients cleaning was not achieved on approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of the days tested.

Alfa, et al. (2010) say their data indicate that the AHP formulation evaluated that has some sporicidal activity was significantly better than the currently used SHP formulation. This AHP formulation provides a one-step process that significantly lowers the C. difficile spore level in toilets during non-outbreak conditions without the workplace safety concerns associated with 5000 ppm bleach. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: Alfa MJ, et al. Improved eradication of Clostridium difficile spores from toilets of hospitalized patients using an accelerated hydrogen peroxide as the cleaning agent. BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:268doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-268.