Infectious aerosols from sink drains
On average, sink drains beneath washbasins in hospitals and clinics contain 106 - 1010 cfu/ml of bacteria, of which approx. 103 - 105 cfu/ml are gramnegative rods (frequent carriers of the waterborne bacteria Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Stenotrophomonas etc.) (DÖRING et al. 1989, 1991).
When water runs into the sink drain, aerosols were formed. These aerosols contain all types of bacteria located in the siphon’s interior, which are released into the surrounding air as the aerosols formed. Therefore, sink drains are open, actively emitting pathogen reservoirs. The higher the sink drain’s microbial load, the more pathogens are emitted into the surrounding air with the aerosols and are thus transferred to the hands of the nursing staff and subsequently to patients (DÖRING et al. 1989 and 1991; SISSOKO et al. 2005). Until now the modern clinical hygiene does not take in account these mocrobial sources in the degree which corresponds to its importance in preventing nosocomial infections.
SISSOKO & SCHLUTTIG and KRAMER & colleagues at the University Hospital in Greifswald have proved that sink drains beneath washbasins constitute actively emitting sources of the nosocomial colonisation of patients with pathogenic bacteria, and that they can be eliminated as emission sources via continuous disinfection (SISSOKO et al. 2005 a and b, KRAMER et al. 2005; ).
SISSOKO, SCHLUTTIG and colleagues demonstrated that nosocomial waterborne infections can also be very successfully avoided via the continual physical disinfection of sink drains (SISSOKO et al. 2004 and 2005).