One of the primary chlorine disinfectants currently being used to clean hospital scrubs and surfaces does not kill the most common cause of antibiotic-associated illness in health care settings globally, according to a study.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth in the UK found that spores of Clostridioides difficile, commonly known as C. diff, are completely unaffected despite being treated with high concentrations of bleach used in many hospitals.
They found that the chlorine chemicals are no more effective at damaging the spores when used as a surface disinfectant than using water with no additives.
Writing in the journal Microbiology, the study’s authors say susceptible people working and being treated in clinical settings might be unknowingly placed at risk of contracting the superbug.
As a result, and with incidence of biocide overuse only serving to fuel rises in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) worldwide, they have called for urgent research to find alternative strategies to disinfect C. diff spores in order to break the chain of transmission in clinical environments.