Tag Archives: superbug

Killer fungus candida auris is NOT getting a chance in our hospitals

No to candida auris
It might be a global threat, but with our hydrogen peroxide protection, it’s not going to find a home here

Persistent and multi-drug resistant, the new candida auris superbug is not a pandemic yet, and despite fears of its rampant onset, is not going to be.

Worrying because unlike most funguses, it seems to spread from person to person – a yeast that colonises the skin and therefore transfers on contact.

It’s also nosocomial, particularly present in hospitals where it targets the already ill – those patients with surgical incisions or intravenous feeds, apertures in the body that provide the way in.

That makes it a real hazard to patients and health care givers – easily contaminating clothing, linen, bedrails, chairs, catheters and all kinds of surrounding equipment. A “touch it if you dare” situation requiring isolation if possible – a strain on already stretched NHS resources.

Hard to come clean

To make things more difficult, candida auris is also resilient against the usual cleaning agents. Recommended is chlorine-based treatment at 1,000ppm dilution – as strong as can be risked without harming surroundings.

Even so, the bug persists, frequently demanding action the hard way – repeated deep cleans and the closing down of ward and ICU facilities among the 35 hospitals affected.

One of them however knows it’s got the bug beaten – showing the way for others to get themselves candida auris-free. We can’t tell which hospital it is, as all work of this nature has to be confidential.

Suffice it to say though, that after two deep cleans and much worry, one particular hospital has solved the problem overnight and banished candida auris from its corridors.

Clearing up with mist

The solution?

Misting up affected areas with ionised hydrogen peroxide – a quick and effective way to neutralise ALL germs immediately.

This process does require facilities to be completely vacated – though it is possible to section off areas with  protective PVC sheeting and handle the job piecemeal.

Once clear, the hydrogen peroxide is released into the air, to spread in all directions and against all surfaces. The ionising forces wide dispersal and electrostatic attraction to pathogens – clamping to them like magnets and ripping them apart by oxidising them.

The hospital involved made one phone call and 24 hours later the job was done – all clear and back to normal, ready for the onset of winter. No candida auris, no anything – sterilised, safe and secure.

Good to know we have effective defences – especially with authorities like Forbes magazine and America’s CDC regarding candida auris as a global threat.

If germs are invisible, how safe is clean really?

Waitress checks glass
Polished to perfection and still deadly dangerous – the invisible threat of germs

Invisible? Too small to see?

So how safe is clean? The short answer is, not very.

Even when spotless , that wine glass could be crawling.

And what are you going to do, polish it? Buff it up, so it gleams?

Uh huh.

Well the average cell size for escherichia coli O157 – a very common killer superbug – is just 2 microns. And all it needs to infect you is 40 of them clumped together – still 1/250th the thickness of a human hair.

Plus this particular strain of e. coli can cause severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhoea – a seriously nasty case of gastroenteritis.

In severe cases it triggers kidney failure, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, and death.

Trouble ahead – even though you can’t see it

So first swig anyone takes out of that glass could land them in big trouble. You too, if it’s your glass in your restaurant and your customer decides to sue.

But check the glass and there’s not a mark on it.

Or on the cloth used to polish it either. Which more than likely has transferred invisible gobs of e.coli O157 to a whole stack of other glasses too – so it could be a slew of law suits.

How did it happen?

That glass, like all the others went through a machine at over 60⁰C – enough to kill most germs.  Ah, but the trouble started when it came out.

First off, it air dried – standing in a rack with all the others.

Remember we said that germs are invisible?

So just like you can’t see them on the surface of anything, you can’t see them in the air either.

Ramp up the hygiene – or else

Oh sure, sure – e. coli is usually transmitted by contaminated food, physical contact, or untreated drinking water. Reality is that ALL germs are also airborne – at just 2 microns across it’s impossible not to be.

So it’s floating around through the air-con, or swirling in through the door – or maybe hitching a ride on somebody’s overcoat as they come in.

And guess what?

Like most of us, pretty well all clientele arrive and start partying WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS. So whether that e. coli is outside the glass or in it, this is a bad situation waiting to happen.

But of course, who says that e.coli is only on the glass?

Yeah right, the whole place gets cleaned before every lunch or dinner session – but how does anyone know that’s any safer either?

OK, food prep areas probably get scrubbed and wiped down with bleach – diluted of course because it’s toxic otherwise. Not too strong either because the smell lingers and puts the customers off.

Looks clean because of the scrubbing. But hang on – to be effective, that bleach has to be in contact with germs for at least 30 minutes. Maybe more, depending on dilution. Except what probably happens is a quick wipe down – 10 seconds at most, because everything LOOKS clean.

AND that same wipe down cloth – damp from a weakened solution – gets used t wipe the rest of the place down too. Transferring any germs it picks up from one surface to another – none of them dead because the contact time is too short.

Looks aren’t everything

Right, so – open for business and everything’s sparkling. Looks pretty to the customers, they’re all convinced.

You wish.

Reality is, despite all the scrubbing and polishing, the place could be as germ-laden as it was before any cleaning got started.

And it’s the same with everywhere, not just a restaurant.

Because of all the people who touch it, we’re 10,000 times more likely to pick up a bug from an escalator handrail as from a toilet seat.

Which means touchscreens, keyboards, lift buttons and light switches – our workplace is just as dangerous and germ-riddled. Al of us working together in the same space, breathing the same air, touching the same things – what can you expect?

And we’re none the wiser because everything LOOKS clean.

Better to trust our noses, they can sense bacteria better. We might not be able to see it, but we can SMELL when something is off – some of the time.

Playing safe

Better not to take chances at all and sterilise the whole place as a regular routine. Scrubbing is no guarantee of safety, so you might as well spend a little more and do it properly.

And the easiest, most painless way is to mist it up with hydrogen peroxide at the end of the day.

All surface, the air, all objects – are sterilised within 40 minutes or so, depending on room size. All viruses, bacteria and fungi dead – including e.coli O157.

So, invisible dirty, invisible clean – can you tell the difference?

If e.coli O157 is the price you have to pay to find out, why take chances?

Picture Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo