Scientists Recommend Hydrogen Peroxide Vapors to Disinfect Hospital Rooms

spritzer.jpgScientists at the Johns Hopkins Hospital have used a robotic system that sprays a bleaching agent in the air, as part of a strategy to eliminate disease-causing bacteria, specifically drug-resistant microbes.

The results of their experiment were published recently in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The use of these vaporizers was first noticed in Singapore back in 2002 during the SARS outbreak. Then, hospitals in the United States began stocking up on the vaporizers during the anthrax scare, to preempt any anthrax attacks.

The Johns Hopkins researchers used the hydrogen peroxide vaporizers in hospital rooms. The vaporizers were used in rooms that had been first given a routine cleaning. The vaporizers dispersed a thin film of hydrogen peroxide across the room, including the tables, bed rails, floors, walls and other surfaces.

The enhanced cleaning was found to be very effective in reducing the number of microbes, and also reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infectious diseases. The researchers found that the new and improved cleaning reduced by approximately 64% the number of hospital patients who later became contaminated with any of the most common drug-resistant microbes responsible for causing hospital-acquired infections.

The study was conducted over a period of two and a half years, and focused on approximately 6,350 patients admitted to Johns Hopkins hospitals. Approximately 180 hospital private rooms were included in the study. Approximately 50% of the rooms were given a thorough cleaning with the hydrogen peroxide vapors, while the remaining rooms were not given the hydrogen peroxide vapor treatment.

After the cleaning, it was found that the drug-resistant microbes were present in approximately 21% of the rooms that were tested, but most of the rooms that underwent the enhanced testing with hydrogen peroxide vapors did not contain the microbes. What is even more interesting is that the use of these hydrogen peroxide vaporizers resulted in patients being protected from infections, regardless of whether the previous patient in the same hospital room had been suffering from an infectious disease or not.

Most importantly, the researchers found that the cleaning with hydrogen peroxide vaporizers reduced the incidence of acquiring vancomycin-resistant enterococci by as much as 80%.
The researchers believe that the use of these devices will prove very popular with hospitals and medical facilities because the devices are easy to use. The device mainly consists of a robotic appliance that is about the size a washing machine, and weighs about 60 pounds. The researchers are now focusing on using similar technologies to decontaminate the external packaging of potentially exposed hospital supplies.

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