Let me begin by saying…HAPPY NEW YEAR! In my last blog post, I admitted to being a total Christmas junkie. I am sure I was not the only one who felt a little bit sad packing up the Christmas decorations knowing that I still have to endure another 3-4 months of winter without having any holiday cheer. There is something satisfying, however, about starting a new year with fresh starts and new beginnings. In fact, I started 2017 by giving my house a top to bottom clean with my new vacuum cleaner, re-organized all my closets, and purged a bunch of junk that we collected during 2016. Fresh starts feel great, but I am not the only one taking advantage of New Year. The New Year also signifies new opportunities for emerging pathogens to make their debut appearance. Let’s take a look at some of the top emerging pathogens from 2016.
According to the World Health Organization, emerging diseases from 2016 requiring urgent attention include: Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola, Lassa fever, MERS, SARS, Nipah and Rift Valley fever. As these diseases start to make headlines the tendency is to start freaking out! We go straight to our disinfectant to see if it has an efficacy claim against the new pathogen and when we can’t find the efficacy claim we call the manufacturer frantically asking if our disinfectant will be effective. It’s important to understand that when new pathogens emerge, it takes time to identify what that pathogen is and develop an EPA/Health Canada approved efficacy testing protocol and/or determine if regulatory bodies will in fact allow such a claim on the label. But there is no need to panic because if your facility is using an ideal disinfectant, your facility should be protected from these emerging pathogens.
Spectrum of Efficacy
Did you know that all of the emerging pathogens I mentioned above are enveloped viruses? Enveloped viruses are considered the easy to kill viruses (compared to non-enveloped viruses) and are very susceptible to hospital grade disinfectants. However, what we don’t know is if the emerging pathogens of 2017 will be just as easy to kill which is why we want to use a disinfectant with a broad spectrum of efficacy. Having efficacy claims against bacteria, enveloped viruses, non-enveloped viruses and fungi will ensure that your disinfectant can handle any new pathogens that might come your way. Non-enveloped viruses are especially important, as in 2016, the EPA developed an emerging pathogen guidance document for viral pathogens not listed on EPA registered disinfectant labels. In order to be eligible to meet the Emerging Pathogen Guidance, the disinfectant product must meet the following 2 criteria.
- The product is an EPA-registered, hospital/healthcare or broad-spectrum disinfectant with directions for use on hard, porous or non-porous surfaces.
- The currently accepted product label (from an EPA registered product as described above) should have disinfectant efficacy claims against at least one of the following viral pathogen groupings:
- A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one large or one small non-enveloped virus (such as Poliovirus, Norovirus or Adenovirus) to be eligible for use against an enveloped emerging viral pathogen.
- A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one small, non-enveloped virus to be eligible for use against a large, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen.
- A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least two small, non-enveloped viruses to be eligible for use against a small, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen.
While your disinfectant may have a broad spectrum of germicidal efficacy, it will ultimately be useless if staff do not properly use the disinfectant. There are many factors that result in poor compliance including: long contact times, 2 step disinfection verses 1 step, poor safety profile, and not being user friendly. Ultimately we want our disinfectants to not only have a broad spectrum of efficacy but we want them to have fast and realistic contact times that can be achieved in 1 application, be a one-step cleaner disinfectant, be non-toxic and non-irritating and come available in multiple sizes and formats. In fact, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) disinfectants have been designed with all of these criteria in mind. All AHP® based disinfectants have a broad spectrum of germicidal efficacy including efficacy against gram negative and gram positive bacteria, enveloped viruses, non-enveloped viruses, and fungi in fast and realistic contact times (as fast as 30 seconds against non-enveloped viruses). Furthermore AHP® based disinfectants have been formulated to stay wet for their required contact time, and are proven to be non-toxic, non-irritating and non-respiratory sensitizing. Finally, AHP® based disinfectants are available in multiple sizes and formats making it user friendly to ensure that we give users the best shot at compliance.
I’m sure many of you have made some New Year’s resolutions, so please share them with me in the comments, or tweet them to me @olivialattimore! I hope we can all make creating cleaner and safer environments for our patients, clients, customers and staff a goal for 2017. I wish you all an amazing year ahead!