Anti-bacterial wipes a bad idea, says study

June 4th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 4 (IANS) Anti-microbial wipes do not seem to be doing their job, says a new study that found they too spread pathogens. These wipes, used in hospitals and even homes, have been touted as a great way to combat microbes, but the study by Cardiff University researchers has doubted their efficacy.

Germicides are commonly used on hard surfaces to kill bacteria, especially in hospitals. The study posed the question: “Are we confident that these organisms are susceptible to the germicides (wipes) used in hospitals?”

The answer was “no”, and the study then developed a robust, three-step protocol to assess the ability of wipes to remove, kill and prevent the transfer of bacteria between surfaces was subsequently developed.

Using the three-step method the study examined the ability of several commercially available wipes to disinfect surfaces contaminated with various microbes.

The results showed that some wipes can remove higher numbers of bacteria from surfaces than others. However, the wipes tested were unable to kill the bacteria that they removed.

Consequently, they transferred more bacteria to other surfaces.

The study suggests that if these wipes encounter highly contaminated surfaces in practice, the survival of bacteria on the wipe material could lead to the cross-contamination of other surfaces if used more than once.

The findings of the study were presented Tuesday at the 108th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

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