Congresses and Symposia

Congresses and Symposia

10th Congress for Hygiene, Wounds and Care in Bad Kissingen
1. ICW-Kongress Süd (congress organised by the Initiative for Chronic Wounds)


16th – 18th March 2010

We gave the following lecture at this congress:

"The prevention of nosocomial infections via the disinfection of sink drains"

The lecture was given by Dr. Alexander Schluttig on 16.03.2010 in the White Room, from 9:45 am to 10:30 am.

Please click to view the complete PowerPoint presentation
"Publications of Clinical Tests - Lectures at Medical Symposiums".



Dr. Alexander Schluttig      
Dr. Alexander Schluttig

Lecture abstract:

Infectious liquid aerosols (air-water aerosols) are produced continuously during the use of drains in the clinical sanitary and care industries (wet cells, washbasins and sinks in the catering, pharmacy and care sectors). These aerosols naturally contain all those bacteria types found in the sealing liquid in which they form.  The sealing liquid in sink drains beneath washbasins and sinks, shower trays, bathing and birthing tubs and floor drains contains a large number of diverse microorganisms (gramnegative 108-1010 cfu/ml). Each sink drain contains approximately 200 ml of this sealing liquid, which is contaminated with microbial pathogens.  It follows that sink drains constitute the largest accumulation of bacteria in ward patients' immediate vicinities, and can pose a serious danger to immunocompromised patients when the pathogens are emitted from the permanently open drains.

This process, a well-known phenomenon, sees bacteria being emitted in the form of aerosols when washbasins are used.  The building regulation for clinics which stipulates that the jet of water from the tap may not directly “hit” the sink drain, and that clinical washbasins must not be equipped with overflows, is based on this accepted wisdom. After DÖRING and colleagues (University of Tübingen) proved that pseudomonads from sink drains can be transferred to the hands of nursing staff via aerosol formation in 1989 and 1991, KRAMER and colleagues (University of Greifswald) carried out over 200 individual examinations in 2005 to demonstrate that bacteria are emitted from sink drains via aerosol formation, even if a sterile water jet coming from a terminal water filter does not hit the basin outlet directly.

As a result, KRAMER and colleagues defined the sink drain as a permanently open, active, bacteria-emitting pathogen reservoir.  The Greifswald studies proved that sink drains contain infectiologically and epidemiologically relevant nosocomial bacteria. The University Hospital in Greifswald thus classified sink drains as a high risk factor (risk area 1) and made their continuous physical disinfection a top priority, including this in the water safety plan and ensuring its technical implementation.
Clinical field studies (SISSOKO and colleagues, 2004 and 2005) proved that the continual physical disinfection of sink drains on hospital wards accommodating immunocompromised patients resulted in an approximately 70% reduction in patient colonisation and a corresponding decrease in nosocomial infections.

The continual disinfection of sink drains via a physical disinfection device ensured that infectious aerosols ceased to form. Several German clinics now disinfect their sink drains continuously in risk area 1 (neonatology, oncology, bone marrow transplantation) and have observed significant improvements. The clinical and technical aspects of this new disinfection process will be described and discussed during the lecture.

All reports regarding the results of clinical studies can be viewed at Publications of Clinical Tests and can also be downloaded or sent by post on request.

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