C. difficile lurking in the laundry


27th January 2017


US study has found C. difficile spores in the hospital laundry. Whilst most of the spores were identified on the dirty side of the laundry, a small number of spores were also identified on the clean side of the laundry. The identification of C. difficile spores in both the clean and dirty hospital laundry could present a potential transmission risk. The study team sampled 120 surfaces in the dirty side of the laundry, and 120 surfaces on the clean side of the laundry. C. difficile was identified from around 1 in 5 surfaces on the dirty side, and 1 in 50 surfaces on the clean side. Whilst is not surprising to find contamination with C. difficile spores on the dirty side of the laundry, it is a concern to find these spores on the clean side, where hospital linen is folded before being taken to clinical areas. Furthermore, there is a risk of laundry workers becoming contaminated with the spores and sharing them with other parts of the hospital. The findings of this study prompted a review of the workflows of staff between the dirty and clean areas of the laundry, resulting in increased disinfection of surfaces, and changes in how staff moved between the dirty and clean sides of the laundry. Perhaps this study should also prompt a review of cleaning and disinfection protocols, and staff workflows in your hospital laundry?



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