Free Webinar: Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene

Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene.


The main objective of this webinar is to review the basics of cleaning and disinfection:

  • The updated burden of HAI’s in Canada
  • Why do we disinfect
  • Best practices in cleaning and disinfection
  • Using the right product
  • Validation technique

This 40 minutes long webinar was originally broadcast on December 15th, 2016. Watch it now on replay for a limited time!

Invitation Free Webinar: Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene

webinar-topfree-webinar-left2

I would like to invite you to a free webinar on


Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene.


I will present this webinar on December 15th, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST. (45 minutes long)

The main objective of this webinar will be to review the basics of cleaning and disinfection :

  • The updated burden of HAI’s in Canada
  • Why do we disinfect
  • Best practices in cleaning and disinfection
  • Using the right product
  • Validation technique

Practical information:

  • The webinar will take place on Thursday, December 15th, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST (Toronto Time)
  • Make sure you have a computer accessible with an internet connection
  • The webinar is 100% free without any engagement
  • We will take question after the webinar

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Biofilms: What you should know.

Biofilms are everywhere

Well hidden or sometimes visible, always disgusting, biofilms, as so well described by my colleague Rémi Charlebois, are defined as follows:

Biofilm is an aggregation of microbial cells, surrounded by a protective layer of extracellular polymeric matrix, which attaches itself to any surface found in the hospital environment and becomes a source of contamination. Formation of complex, multicellular communities by microorganisms is a natural phenomenon which helps bacteria or fungi to survive environmental stress such as cleaning and disinfection.

Warning: Graphic Content Ahead

A Biofilm looks like this:

Kitchen Drain

biofilms-drain-cuisine

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Sink strainer

biofilm-bouchon-evier

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Showerhead

biofilm-pommeau-douche

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Toilet Bowl

biofilm-cuve-toilette

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

How to remove biofilms

Here are 3 methods to eliminate biofilm:

Replace equipment

This mehode is somewhat drastic, probably very expensive certainly mostly impractical. Some industries still proceed that way in 2016. I must say that in some cases it may be the only and best solution. For example pipe sections, filters, etc.

Strong acids and bases

Hydrochloric or Peracetic acids or strong bases such as caustic are sometimes used alternatively. However, corrosivity and danger of these chemicals can damage surfaces, individual protection equipment, storage and handling can also be a challenge . Furthermore, there is always the workplace hazards.

Safe hand soap: a primer

hand soapHandwashing is the single most important action to break down the transmission of infection. Anyone working in the food industry, in a lab or in healthcare environment will tell you how often they have to wash their hands. So many products are available, however, it is clear that not all product were created equal. Multiple claims are often written on the bottle confusing users and buyers. A lack of regulation is seen. However, recently the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and Health Canada seems to be going toward new regulation in order to increase the safety of hand soaps.

FDA bans Triclosan

The American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) banned the use of Triclosan and 18 other chemicals in consumer hand soap. The decision was based on the lack of information regarding the effectiveness of this product compare to regular handwashing. Also, serious doubt concerning the safety of this product was crucial in the decision process. The debate has been going on for a while before the decision was made.

Health Canada identified risk regarding Methylisothiazolinone

According to Health Canada, the repeated exposure to this substance and its derivatives can generate multiple symptoms including:

  • a red rash or bumps;
  • itching;
  • swelling, burning, or tenderness of the skin;
  • dry, cracked or scaly skin;
  • blisters.

These symptoms may occur each time someone uses a product containing Methylisothiazolinone and its derivatives and may become more severe with repeated use.

Multiple solutions exist

Hopefully, many suppliers offer products without triclosan, paraben, methylisothiazolinone, benzalkonium chloride, polyacrylamide, dioxane, nonylphenol ethoxylated alcohol or any chemicals of concern. Ask you supplier what are the options regarding safe hand soap, it might save you a lot of trouble.

 

Reference:

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm

http://canadiensensante.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2016/58290a-fra.php

6 reasons why staff should be more involved

staff

When selecting or standardizing cleaning products, the involvement and participation of your staff  is essential. It is important to set up a participatory structure (mandatory user committee) for the acquisition of products and equipment. This would not only lead to a greater accountability from the users, but it will also bring a higher degree of satisfaction.

This structure would allow managers :

  1. To listen to users and to promote their full autonomy;
  2. To establish internal standards for any product. Such standards should truly reflect the needs of users;
  3. To review product stock to ensure they remain relevant;
  4. To specify, with users, technical specifications of products for purchasing according to the standards of the institution;
  5. To educate stakeholders on the content of standards and their use;
  6. To enhance internal resources in terms of products and equipment.

Participatory approach for the staff with the managers

Managers and users must be trained to properly select products and their many uses to avoid handling errors, improper dilution and to grab the security concepts associated. This is an essential prerequisite which is part of a participatory process that will generate a consensus from the janitors about the choice of cleaning products and initiate actions and training of new practices.

3 useful definitions in cleaning and disinfection

When it comes to cleanliness, some people are mixing technical terms leading to ambiguity. It is like mixing chemicals together: That is not a good idea! To keep it simple, we’ll just give three useful definitions.

Deteriorated surfaces

A deteriorated surface shows wear off sign often caused by time or misuse.

Deterioration is one of three elements of impairment of property, the others being functional obsolescence (or obsolescence) and economic obsolescence.

surfaces-vetustes

Safe surfaces

Safe surface means that it is safe to health. Such surface is healthy or good for health often because of risk management. In the food industry, this is why we often refer to it as food safety.
Safe is also synonymous to hygienic !

corridor-hopital-lalema

Disinfected surfaces

Disinfection is a voluntary momentary removal operation of certain bacteria (if it comes to “all germs” we refer more to sterilization), so as to stop or prevent infection or the risk of infection or superinfection by pathogenic or undesirable microorganisms or viruses.

For example:

  • To sanitize a surface eliminates 99.9% of microorganisms (This is a 1,000 X reduction)
  • To disinfect a surface removes 99.999% of microorganisms (This is a 100,000 X reduction)
  • To sterilize a surface or instrument removes 99.9999% of microorganisms (This is a 1,000,000 X reduction)

Obviously, “momentarily” is a key fator because the surface will be contaminated again as soon a a contaminant will enter in contact with the it. That’s why some disinfectants have a residual effect that prolongs the action of disinfectant for a certain time.

biofilm-1024x767

Sources: Larousse, Wikipedia, Linternaute

An Objective Approach to Monitoring Hospital Cleanliness

ATP-tester-lalema

The days when visual room inspection used to be the gold standard for monitoring hospital cleanliness is long gone. Even though this practice is still useful, better and more objective ways have seen the light. One of the most scientific way is surface cultivation. However, surface cultivation is labor intensive and lacks on the spot results. Invisible UV markers and UV light are also a good way to validate if a place was cleaned. However, its application is limited and the data are not telling more then if a surface was cleaned or not at a given time. ATP testing is becoming more and more useful to verify cleanliness beyond visual inspection.

How does ATP monitoring works?

ATP monitoring is a simple and quick way for hospital to measure residual organic matter on a surface, device or piece of equipment. Adenosine triphosphate or ATP is an organic molecule found in every living or once-living organism. Essentially, the person conducting ATP monitoring swabs the surface of concern, and insert that swab into a handheld unit called a luminometer. Results are available within seconds. Good products will come with a free software that will permit to identify problematic areas, monitor trends and store results. It is a very tool to add to an audit system.

Fast, reliable and quality results

It is important to understand that ATP testing is not a microorganism detection method. ATP testing, is a cleaning verification test. It won’t tell you what’s on the surface, but it will tell you that there is something on the surface. A lot of healthcare professionals see the value that ATP monitoring offers. It empowers auditors, infection prevention staff and environmental services specialist to verify if cleaning was done properly in seconds. The speed at which the results are obtained is very appreciated in healthcare settings. If a result is out of specification, then corrective action can be taken immediately. Infection control staff often witness a direct correlation between low ATP levels and lower healthcare associated infection rates. Remember that environmental contamination is directly linked to up to 40% of healthcare associated infections.

Welcome to RamblingsAboutDisinfection.com

ramble

It’s been a year and a half since we started www.ali-flex.com. From the beginning, the blog purpose was mainly to ramble about disinfection. Hence, the name of this new web site!

We know from many comments that you liked our old posts, so we brought them to this new website.

Before I forget,  www.ali-flex.com is more alive than ever, but will from now on be dedicated to the Ali-Flex, Chlorinated Disinfectant Cleaner. One of the main advantages of Ali-Flex RTU is to be a disinfectant as well as a cleaning product. Ali-Flex RTU is ready to use and does not require any dilution, which allows avoiding wrong manipulations or dilution while saving time. Ali-Flex uses exclusive Certiklör Technology.

The difference with our Certiklör stabilized hypochlorite?

The name says it all: stabilized hypochlorite!

Our multidisciplinary team of skilled scientists took 2 years to stabilize the hypochlorite solution. What is the secret? I’m afraid that’s like a little like the Caramilk’s secret! All I can say is that the ingredients that uses this technology have been carefully selected and expertly designed to give hypochlorite increased stability.
And who says stabilized hypochlorite, says better disinfection, less smell and increased cleaning!

If you wish to ramble about it, do not hesitate to share this website with your collegues.

Zika Virus, Where Does It Come From?

zika-1

Source : NEWSCOM/SIPA

Everything started back in the 40s. A research team in Uganda, lead by Alexander Haddow, was studying the yellow fever virus near Entebbe. In April 1950, the team isolates a new virus from a monkey used as a test animal in the Ziika forest.

The first human clinical case was described in 1954 in Nigeria. Then, in 1956, an experiment was conducted on a volunteer who got infected with the Zika virus through bites of infected mosquitoes. The subject developed a weak fever with a mild skin rash. The symptoms disappeared within a week. No more doubt, the Zika virus can infect human being via a mosquito bite.

The Zika virus was isolated in numerous species of Aedes mosquitoes in Africa and Malaysia. In 2007, the virus was identified in Micronesia, in what was the first large scale epidemic. Since then, the Zika virus has been considered as an emerging virus.

zika-2

Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

During 2013, an outbreak was raging in French Polynesia. The virus rapidly spread  and was confirmed in the five archipelagos of French Polynesia which count roughly 270,000 inhabitants. Between October 2013 and March 2014, the number of infected persons is estimated at 28,000 individuals. 73 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome were described during this epidemic. The Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare affection that can cause muscle weakness and even paralysis. Sporadic cases of Zika virus disease were described throughout Oceania.

In Brazil, at the start of 2015, an increasing number of patients presenting symptoms similar to the Dengue virus disease were observed. This increase stroke the attention of Brazilian Public Health authorities. An infectious disease specialist evaluated some patients and laboratory results confirmed that the virus was not the Dengue nor the Chikunguya virus. In March 2015, the Zika virus was confirmed by the Carlos Chagas Institute. It was the first time that Zika virus disease was contracted in the Americas.

The virus strain isolated in Brazil is somewhat close to the Asian strains with similarities to the virus isolated in Oceania a few years ago. Some experts believe that the virus was imported into Brazil during the World Championship of pirogue (va’a) that was held in Brazil in August 2014. Four Oceanian countries where the virus is circulating were present at the Championship. To this day, it was estimated that about 1.5 million cases of Zika virus disease occurred in Brazil, which makes it the biggest Zika virus outbreak ever recorded. It is now spreading to other countries where the Aedes mosquitoes are present. The Zika virus is suspected to be linked to microcephaly touching the fœtus of infected mothers. According to the Brazil Health Minister, 4,783 suspects cases of microcephaly were described so far (February 2016). Active research is  ongoing to find if and how can the Zika virus be related to birth defects.

Zika Virus is there a Risk for Surface Contamination?

zika virus

Zika virus is an arbovirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. It was discovered in 1947 in a monkey in Uganda. Zika virus is mainly present in Central America and South America but also in Africa and Oceania.

Zika virus, what is it?

With the Zika virus, it is reporteded that nearly 3 out of 4 infections do not present any symptoms. When symptoms occur, it looks like the flu: fever, headache, body aches with rashes, beginning 3-12 days after being bitten by mosquitoes. Zika virus can also manifest as conjunctivitis or pain behind the eyes, as well as swelling of the hands or feet. The disease is not directly fatal.

Why are pregnant women particularly at risk?

If a pregnant woman is infected, she can pass the virus to her baby through the placenta or during birth.

It is suspected that pregnant women infected with the virus could give birth to babies with microcephaly. Babies are born with a head circumference below 33 cm and irreversible mental retardation.

However, there is no fully proven causal link between Zika and microcephaly and because some mothers do not believe they had the virus.

What precautions should you take?

There is no vaccine against the Zika virus. It is recommended to protect yourself against bites by wearing long clothing and using insect repellent and mosquito nets.
According to the official website of the Government of Canada (canadaensante.gc.ca)

No local transmission of Zika virus have been reported in Canada. At present, the mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are not found in Canada because of the climate. So the likelihood of transmission is very low in the country.

Lassa fever could become a topic of much more serious concern

The media focus on the Zika virus is currently brings shadow on the epidemic of Lassa fever now raging in Nigeria and Benin. Lassa fever is a hemorrhagic fever often compared to the Ebola virus.

Low potential for contamination of surfaces

Zika virus is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites. However, hygiene and safety should follow their normal procedures including disinfection of high potential contamination of surfaces and hand washing.

Press release of the MSSS

On 29 January 2016, the national public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, also issued a statement to inform the public about Zika. You can read the detail here

How to obtain a more effective disinfection with Certiklör?

disinfection

How to obtain a more effective disinfection with Certiklör?

What is Certiklör? The name of a new chemical? A new government certification?

None of the above! Simply put, Certiklör technology is the insurance for you, your patients and all Canadians to achieve a better, more efficient and high quality disinfection. Certiklör is a proprietary technology developed by Lalema for you. This technology ensures that you have in the bottle, an effective stabilized hypochlorite, and here to stay!

Stabilized hypochlorite?

Yes, yes! Let me explain. The hypochlorite that is found in bleach for example, flies away usually at a fast rate of more than 1% per month. This means that after 12 months, there will remain only small amounts of the active ingredient: the hypochlorite found in bleach! Imagine how fast this bleach goes away when it’s on the surface to be disinfected in the open air when it does so quickly when, in a closed container!

The difference with our Certiklör stabilized hypochlorite?

The name says it all: stabilized hypochlorite!

Our multidisciplinary team of skilled scientists took 2 years to stabilize the hypochlorite solution. What is the secret? I’m afraid that’s like a little like the Caramilk’s secret! All I can say is that the ingredients that uses this technology have been carefully selected and expertly designed to give hypochlorite increased stability.
And who says stabilized hypochlorite, says better disinfection, less smell and increased cleaning!

How to know if a product uses Certiklör stabilized hypochloritetechnology?

Now, how can you determine which Lalema products use this technology ? Easy! Look at the product label! For now, look at Ali-Flex RTU and Ali-Flex LF.
So if you care about your health, life quality and efficiency at work, think Certiklör stabilized hypochlorite!

Happy Global Handwashing Day

 

handwashing

October 15th is a day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing.

Handwashing is easy

Only a small amount of water and soap are necessary to accomplish a small action that provides great benefits. It takes 30 seconds and a bit of hand rubbing.

Handwashing works

Washing hands after using the toilet and before handling food can dramatically reduce the risk of infections such as foodborne infection. This year, handwashing was critical in the prevention of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Handwashing is for everyone

We always ask children to wash their hands before eating, when they are back from school or after playing in the yard. From toddlers to elderly, handwashing never loses its importance. Infections can be transmitted by anyone to everyone.  In order to protect children or elderly, everyone should wash their hands. After all, it is the most cost-effective public health intervention.

 

For more information see : globalhandwashing.org

How to reduce fatigue and nosocomial infection at the same time

anti-fatigue mat

Working long hours in an upright position rings a bell to you? Back pain, stress and fatigue are your daily meals? There may be a solution for you.

First: Reduce fatigue with an anti-fatigue mat

One of the features found in this type of carpet is the presence of an absorbent foam. Has it been developed by NASA? In fact, we only need to know if it works. If fatigue is reduced and comfort is improved, then risk of injury and error is reduced.

Second: a unique environment

Anti-fatigue mats are found in dry, wet or oily environement. It is however possible to have a dry environment where there is a risk of contamination.

Most ergonomic mats designed for a dry environment have no backing as shown by the following picture:

without backing
When the mat is placed in an environment where there is a risk of contamination, for example in a intensive care unit, a nurse workstation or an examination room, this can be a real problem. Indeed, how can one ensure the disinfection of such a foam pad, an absorbent material, is located under the carpet ?

A suitable carpet to reduce fatigue for the Healthcare Environment

The solution? Get a sealed carpet. This is exactly what was done with the Pure-Clean anti-fatigue mat.

with backing

Pure Clean carpets (also known previously under the name Pure Ergo-by Lalema) is an ergonomic mat designed specifically for critical areas in terms of infection control.

  • Non-porous carpet completely sealed sides
  • Resistant surface cuts and punctures
  • Very easy to clean and disinfect
  • Excellent anti-fatigue properties

Dilution is the solution

dilution

The dilution of chemical products in housekeeping is certainly one of the aspects where the lack of knowledge is most evident.

Dilution is often misunderstood

Effectively, there are unfortunately too many housekeepers that have the habit of adding a too large quantity of chemicals to their washing solution. Therefore, if they would come to a stop for an instant, in order to realize up to which point this may be harmful to their work, this bad habit would be lost very quickly.

We must indeed remember that cleaning chemical products are conceived to reach their maximum potential with a very precise volume of water.

Consequently, we must use a dilution measuring system that should be standardized for the whole working team.

Effects of under-dilution

With respect to Health and Safety, under dilution can cause:

  • Dermatitis problems
  • Respiratory tract problems
  • Toxic fumes may cause cancer, difficult to prove and difficult to be recognized by the CSST.

With respect to work efficiency and surfaces, under dilution can:

  • Damage surfaces, since an under-diluted alkaline product will make a dull effect, by opening the pores of the floor coverings and thus allowing the deposit of alkalis. Acids, on the contrary, close the pores of the floor coverings and also burn the surface.
  • Leave a film on the surface that will give a continuous streaky appearance and this film being greasy will facilitate the adherence of dirt.
  • Cause enormous rinse problems because it will create foam in the solution container, which anyway has no cleaning effect.
  • Disturb disinfection efficiency.
  • Result in a loss of efficiency, since a well-diluted product reduces the physical demand to perform a task and favors the mechanical action.

Effects of over-dilution

Over dilution can cause:

  • Result in no disinfection.
  • Result in loss of efficiency since an over-diluted product will increase the physical workload at the expense of the mechanical action.

The right dilution is always the best solution

The use of a dilution system does not have to be complicated or costly. Portable system such as Optimixx Portable Dilution System can be used as so.

gun

Biofilm: The Next Big Thing in Disinfection

biofilm

The Next Big Thing in Disinfection: Biofilm

Have you ever wondered what are the main factors affecting the efficacy of disinfection and sterilization in the healthcare facility? U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists seven major causes of microbiological persistence on surfaces:

  1. Number of microorganisms
  2. Microbial resistance to biocides
  3. Concentration and Potency of Disinfectants
  4. Duration of Exposure
  5. Chemical and Physical Factors
  6. Presence of Organic or Inorganic Matter
  7. Biofilms

For many experienced healthcare professionals, these factors are well known and often well dealt with. However, did you know the difference between soil (organic and inorganic matter) and biofilm? They both can significantly lower the efficacy of disinfection, but the biofilm is much harder to remove and control.

What is biofilm and how does it form?

Biofilm is an aggregation of microbial cells, surrounded by a protective layer of extracellular polymeric matrix, which attaches itself to any surface found in the hospital environment and becomes a source of contamination. Formation of complex, multicellular communities by microorganisms is a natural phenomenon which helps bacteria or fungi to survive environmental stress such as cleaning and disinfection.

Many pathogens require a presence of conditioning layer made from organic soil to settle and start extracellular matrix synthesis. But there are bacteria which don’t really need much help to start a biofilm community. When pathogens settle down and surround themselves in an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), they are much harder to kill.

It has been reported that bacteria found in biofilm can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to biocides than their planktonic counterparts.

How to outsmart and fight biofilm?

Despite biofilms’ rigid structure and resistance mechanisms, biofilm cells can still be outsmarted. Since EPS is the ultimate protective barrier and communication route for pathogens, the control of biofilm should start with disruption of the EPS itself, followed by an application of a biocide.

MERS-CoV: Practical Tips for Disinfection

mers-cov

MERS-CoV: Practical Tips for Disinfection

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is slowly spreading through the Middle East and Asia. Transmission, so far, seems to happen when a close contact with an infected individual occurs. This type of transmission has led to many healthcare associated infections to this day. As an example, a patient that waited for 2.5 days in a Seoul emergency department, end up transmitting the disease to 55 persons.

So far, the case-fatality rate is around 36 %, which is very high. However, this number may not be representative of a normal population and its kill rate is likely to be overestimated. A bias might exist when looking at the population who acquired the virus in Korea. Of the 171 cases, many had underlying medical conditions and have a median age of 55.

Official recommendations

CDC and Health Canada issued a few recommendations on infection control and prevention so far, and more is likely to be available soon. Regardless of their recommendations few data are available on environmental hygiene and disinfection practice regarding MERS-CoV in healthcare settings. Also, the transmission through the environment is not well known for this virus.

How to disinfect?

Regarding disinfection few information are available.  Coronaviruses are non-enveloped virus which makes them more resistant to certain disinfectant. As an example, it is known that a 400 ppm solution of quaternary ammonium compounds is ineffective against those viruses. Sodium hypochlorite at a minimum of 1,000 ppm seems to be sufficient, however a higher concentration would be optimal in healthcare settings. Very few data exist regarding other disinfectant technology.

At this moment, isolation with contact-droplets precaution is advised. In spite of the fact that it was suggested during the SARS outbreak that this type isolation might not be sufficient. Even though these two viruses are similar, we must remember that many differences exist. Thus we must be careful with extrapolation of data.

IPAC Canada 2015 : Thank you

 

environmental-hygiene-ipac-2015It was a pleasure to chat with some of you about current practice in environmental hygiene regarding infection control.

We hope you liked Ali-Flex RTU, our low odor, non-corrosive, broad spectrum and ready to use disinfectant cleaner. There is a great potential for improvement in the field of environmental hygiene and we are dedicated to it.

We look forward to hearing from you, but in the meantime, with best regards we remain.

The Ali-Flex Team (Manon, John and Remi)

PS If you want to know more about Ali-Flex RTU, visit our main web site.

Stopping it from Getting Viral

enveloped_virus-Stopping it from Getting Viral

Stopping it from Getting Viral

One disinfecting has to keep in mind what he is trying to get rid of. Disinfectant choice should always consider the microorganism to be eliminated in the environment. Let’s remember what we need to consider when disinfecting a virus contaminated environment.

Virology 101

First, let’s do a quick recap of what is a virus. A virus is a small infectious agent that can only replicate in another organism. This notion is important, it means that a human virus cannot replicate in food or soil. It is specific to its host. Another important notion about viruses is that they can be either enveloped or not enveloped. The envelope is made of a lipidic barrier originating from the cell the virus replicates in. Regardless of the lipidic membrane virus are made of a protein capsid and genetic material which can either be DNA or RNA.

Non-enveloped_virus-Stopping it from Getting Viral

Resistance to disinfectant

Basically, viruses can be divided in two groups regarding their resistance to disinfectant, those are the enveloped and non-enveloped virus. Non-enveloped virus are less susceptible to disinfectant. For example, norovirus or hepatitis A agent are small non-enveloped viruses. They are known to be resistant to environmental stress, such as temperature, UV, low or high humidity levels and disinfectant.

How to disinfect for virus contamination ?

First thing first, if your disinfectant has a virucidal claim on the bottle you are fine. You can also look for specific claims, however the general claim is sufficient has it was proven to be effective on multiple virus. Usually, a minimum of 1,000 ppm of stabilized sodium hypochlorite or 5,000-10,000 ppm of fast acting hydrogen peroxide is good way to make sure virus in the environment are no more of a threat.

IPAC Canada 2015 meeting, what to expect this year ?

ipac canada 2015 rip-tides-of-changes

Infection prevention and control Canada will hold its annual conference in just a month. This year it will take place in beautiful Victoria, BC. The theme surfing waves of change promise to bring a wind of new approaches and effective solutions to enhance the practice of ICPs. Key opinion leaders and other highly influential speakers will provide a tsunami of information through presentation and multiple discussions. With a special focus on compliance reporting on environmental hygiene and hand hygiene, this conference might inspire a real wave of change.

IPAC Canada 2015

IPAC is also an excellent opportunity to meet with the industry leader in the broad field of infection prevention. Whether you are looking for new environmental hygiene tools, a better software to monitor your antimicrobial stewardship program or hand hygiene audit solutions, key industries will be there. It will also be the perfect occasion to get familiar with the Ali-Flex brand.

Will you be on board  to meet the rip tides of change ? We will! Meet us at booth 72!

#IPACCanada2015 #AliFlex

AIPI 2015 – 37th Science Conference in Victoriaville

AIPI

Medical team at the hospital looking very happy

Lalema will be at the 37th Science Conference of the Association des Infirmières en prévention des infections. This year’s congress will take place in the beautiful town of Victoriaville.

AIPI Science Conference

The theme this year is: The prevention and infection control – a world without frontiers. Again, the lectures at this congress will be very interesting!

It is also an excellent opportunity to bring together industry and infection control professionals. Therefore, Lalema will be present and look forward to discuss new trends, technologies and new products with you.

We can also answer your questions on the most current environmental hygiene tools.

In short, it is also an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with our range of cleaners, disinfectants including the all-star Ali-Flex Series.

Expo Lalema 2015 : Its a rendezvous

expo-lalema

We are very proud to invite you to our 3rd edition of EXPO LALEMA. Last year was a frank success at that was because so many of you, dear clients, collaborators and friends showed up. Beware, we expect this year to be even better!

Ali-Flex product lines will be displayed

The whole Ali-Flex product line will be displayed and you will be meeting with our environmental hygiene specialist. Furthermore, exclusive announcements will be made.

Dedicated Partners

We are lucky to have such dedicated partners and always there for our clients and ourself. This year some of our most respected partners will join us. Rubbermaid, 3M, Kimberly Clark, Cascades, Bobrick, Comac, Eco II, Nacecare et Atlas Graham will be there to answer your questions and presenting you the way they rethink hygiene.

Expo Lalema : Its a rendezvous

This year we will be receiving you in the Canada pavilon on the Notre-Dame island. Many surprises await you!

Don’t forget to save the date, you won’t regret it!

We will be waiting for you on April 30th 2015. Doors will open at 11h00 at 1, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Pavillon du Canada Toundra room.

You can subscribe via e-mail (mlandry@lalema.com) or directly on our website site at : www.lalema.com.

We look forward to seeing you there,

Why choose a Ready-to-use Bleach based Cleaner-Disinfectant?

ready-to-use-cleaner-disinfectant-nursing

In the actual market, you can find many cleaner-disinfectants. When it comes to consumer products, you’ll find a lot of brand, most of them are ready to use. It means you do not have to dilute the product and use it as is to disinfect. For industrial and institutionnal use, most of cleaner-disinfectants are concentrated if not ultra-concentrated. In that case, why choose a ready-to-use Bleach based Cleaner-Disinfectant for institutionnal use?

Main benefit of a low-foam concentrated product

Let’s talk about a product like Ali-Flex LF, a product like this one offers a high concentration for general disinfection in hospitals. On a day to day basis, with the right dilution system, the surfactants contained in ALI-FLEX LF increase the wetting power of this chlorinated disinfectant and contribute to degrease and remove dirt from hard non porous surfaces such as countertops, walls, floors, toilets, commode chairs, etc.

Main benefit of a ready-to-use chlorinated disinfectant cleaner

When it comes to infection control, one important aspect is to reduce the risk. We know that dilution systems can sometimes be flawed and not consistant with delivery concentration. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain a consistant known concentration. That is exactly what Ali-Flex RTU can provide: a factory consistant concentration of 6000 PPM (when packaged) with a validated shelf-life.

Of course it may generate more plastic in the environnement. Recycling may then be on option to consider. At the same time, when patient’s lifes are at risk, all factors that can reduce the risk is of important value.

What are you using in your facility?

Tell us what kind of product you are using. Are you in control? Are you facing problems when it comes to stop eclosion? Surely we can help you! Let’s talk!

Beware, microbes can survive in hospital environment

microbes

For a long time, cleaning has been all about the look; fresh smell and the absence of stains or dirt were the criteria to determine that a place is clean. Today, these criteria are still generally accepted in environments such as offices and classrooms.

It’s common knowledge, however, that microbes (bacteria or viruses) invisible to the human eye represent a risk for spreading infections. Take the example of the influenza virus: it can survive for up to 48 hours on a hard surface!

Without cleaning and disinfection procedures or a quality check procedure, microbes can survive in hospital environment.

Three key elements have to be considered in order to perform an infective risk analysis:

  • Is the patient carrying a disease agent? Disease agents are classified based on their spreading capacity and their virulence. The choice of a disinfectant will be based on this.
  • Do the functional activities of a sector represent a risk of spreading infections from the environment? E.g.: food service, offices, Intensive Care, etc.
  • The intensity of contact is related to the traffic and the surfaces that are more likely to be touched. E.g.: bathroom fittings.

Have you already performed an infective risk analysis? We can help, make sure to visit our unique offer for Diagnostic Analysis of Hospital Housekeeping Service. My next post is going to explain how cleaning allows reducing risks of infection among patients.

FIFO: First In, First Out also applies to disinfectant!

fifo

First In, First Out (FIFO): also applies to disinfectant!

Some of you may be familiar with the FIFO concept. FIFO is a method for organizing and manipulating goods such as food, it is also used in computer science to organize data. In the food industry, FIFO is essential in order to ensure freshness, preventing foodborne illness and controlling costs.

Can a cleaning product expire?

When it comes to disinfectant the same goes, a fresher or let’s say a newer product is better. I sometimes hear people saying that soap doesn’t expire. Even though the shelf life of soap is way greater than most food items, soaps and other cleaning products do expire. Same goes for disinfectant the active ingredient of a disinfectant whether it is quats, chlorine or peroxide will diminish over time. Hence to ensure a proper disinfection it is important to use product that are not expired. A good way to achieve this is by implementing a FIFO rotation system. By always using the oldest disinfectant that you have in inventory first, you make sure that you won’t get stuck with old and maybe expired stuff!

How to know if a cleaning product is expired?

This is a broad question… For disinfectant it is pretty easy, Health Canada and the EPA requires that all disinfectant have an expiration date on their label. Most cleaning product however does not have an expiration date and the shelf life varies greatly among them. But some signs won’t get you wrong. If the color, the odor, the consistency of the product is changed or if you see a deposit in the product it might be a good sign that the product is expired. In case of doubt, call the manufacturer, with the lot number every good manufacturer will be able to tell you if the product is expired.

A brief history of the Influenza

Emergency_hospital_during_Influenza_epidemic_Camp_Funston_Kansas_-_NCP_1603

Historical picture of the 1918 Spanish flu at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many ill patients. Source: WikiCommon

 

I would like to talk to you about the Influenza. My mother always told me: “Son, a small flu lasts a week and a big one lasts 7 days.” and she was right. Influenza is a respiratory infection that also spreads very easily. It is caused by the influenza virus.

The origin of the flu

Influenza hit human beings in China as early as around -2500 B.C. With birds, the virus goes back more than 8000 years ago.

Hippocrates had clearly described Influenza

In -2400, the writings of Hippocrates clearly describe the symptoms of the flu. And since then, history is full of influenza pandemics description. However, before 1850, the data are sometimes difficult to analyze because the symptoms of flu are similar to other diseases such as diphtheria, bubonic plague, typhoid fever and others.

Major known influenza pandemics

Major known flu pandemics
Pandemic Date Death Subtype involved Severity Index
Asian Flu (Russia) 1889–1890 1 million H2N2 ? ?
Spanish Flu 1918–1920 30 à 100 millions H1N1 5
Asian Flu 1957–1958 1 à 1,5 millions H2N2 2
Hong Kong Flu 1968–1969 0,75 à 1 million H3N2 2
A (H1N1) Flu 2009–2010 18 138 H1N1

Discovery of the virus

It was long thought that influenza was caused by bacteria. In 1931, the virus was identified in pigs and two years later, in 1933, humans from levy on the throat of a researcher contaminated with the flu.

Discovery of the vaccine

In 1935, we managed to “grow” the virus in embryonated chicken eggs. The first clinical trials between 1936 and 1938 are inconclusive. In 1944, with support from the US Army, we obtained the first effective vaccine based on influenza virus. Research has continued since.

The vaccine in Quebec for 2014-2015 is available since November

The injectable vaccine against influenza 2014-2015 offered in the program framework contains the following three strains:

  • A / California / 7/2009 (H1N1)
  • A / Texas / 50/2012 (H3N2)
  • B / Massachusetts / 2/2012
  • The intranasal vaccine contains four strains or B / Brisbane / 60/2008 in addition to the same three strains contained in the vaccine injection.

Even if you have been vaccinated against the flu last year, you still need to receive it this year. Indeed, antibody levels fall about 6 months after vaccination against influenza, particularly in people whose immune system is weakened.

The index of influenza activity in Quebec for the week of 7 to 13 December 2014 (CDC 14-50) is HIGH tends UPWARD.

f23239b08c69e43c4a2aa6999e06ee5a

Preventive measure against the flu

If we can not escape it, there is still prevention methods:

  • It maintains a proper hygiene program (particularly hand washing).
  • It is vaccinated.
  • This ensures clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.

For more info on how to fight a flu epidemic (or pandemic if it degenerates there), see this presentation (in french):

sources:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grippe
http://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/sujets/prob_sante/influenza/index.php?accueil

Hospitals, here and there

Hospitals here and there around the world

The saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Let’s see what’s going on on the other side!

Sierra Leone

sierra-leone

Maternity hospital in Sierra Leone. Since 2010, more and more women are choosing to give birth in hospitals.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/in-west-africa-the-birth-of-a-notion/article4105570/

Taiwan

taiwan

Colors & Hospital seems to be an international concept!

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/in-west-africa-the-birth-of-a-notion/article4105570/

Sudan

soudan-du-sud

Sometimes budgets do not include beds …

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/in-west-africa-the-birth-of-a-notion/article4105570/

Russia

russie

Some Russian hospitals beyond the Urals are still waiting for post-Soviet modernization.

Source: http://www.viralnova.com/awful-russian-hospital/

Poland

pologne

Poland is modernizing its hospitals to override the memories of Soviet rule.

Source: http://polandpoland.com/polish_hospitals.html

United Arab Emirates

dubai

Modern hospitals in Dubai, nothing too good!

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/saudi-german-eyes-q1-launch-for-dubai-hospital-361565.html

US

etats-unis-1024x768

If you have the means, the US private hospitals offer great luxury!

Source: http://imatter.silvercross.org/uncategorized/room-view-2

Quebec

hospitals-quebec-1024x768

Although hospitals are not all young or renovated, we can be proud of the quality of care in our hospitals!

Source: http://imatter.silvercross.org/uncategorized/room-view-2

Hospitals Cleaning Supplies

We have those! www.lalema.com

Don’t be afraid to go micro

microfiber-cloth

Today it’s undeniable that microfibers are superior to cotton fibers. Although the official recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Social Services privileges the use of microfibers, cotton fibers are still pretty common in disinfecting procedures.

What are the differences between cotton and microfibers?

The difference between microfibers and normal fibers are the size of filaments as well as their structure. You can see their superior effectiveness in the image.
It is in fact for this reason that the Ministry of Health and Social Services recommends the use of microfibers for cleaning in hospitals, as their mechanic cleaning ability is greatly increased.* Up to 90% of microorganisms can be removed from a surface by simply rubbing it with a microfiber cloth.

It is also important to keep in mind that natural fibers such as cotton can decrease the effectiveness of the disinfectant. In fact, quaternary ammoniums may permanently bond with the natural fibers and lose their ability to react on the surface. Although quats of the 4th and 5th generation are much less sensitive to the type of fiber used, it’s still recommended to use synthetic fibers. The same holds for peroxide and oxidant based products such as chlorine; these products may interact with natural fibers. If you don’t have access to synthetic fibers, we strongly suggest not soaking your cotton cloths in the disinfecting solution for too long.

Quality of your microfiber cloth!

Beware of microfibers imitations, certain low quality products won’t have the same mechanical effect on surfaces. Also, low quality microfibers often shrink after washing and are more sensitive to hot water and oxidants. At Lalema, our microfiber cloths are all supplied by first choice suppliers. Although a little bit more expensive, these microfiber cloths are more durable and represent the best choice for quality cleaning.

To learn more about microfibers

Visit the Microfiber section of Lalema’s online catalog
* MESURES D’HYGIÈNE ET DE SALUBRITÉ AU REGARD DU CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE Lignes directrices. MSSS, 2008.

Wipe out gastroenteritis!

ebola-disinfect-surface

Standard disinfectants are not as effective when facing viruses that cause gastroenteritis.

Approximately 40% of commercial disinfectants that are used to clean surfaces are little or no effective in destroying the norovirus, the virus that causes gastroenteritis. This is what Dr Julie Jean, of the Université de Laval, has found in her recent study.* Her research has demonstrated that bleach-based disinfectants are the most effective in reducing the norovirus from surfaces.

The virus that is responsible of gastroenteritis

The norovirus is the main cause for viral gastro-enteritis in health centers. Moreover, it’s responsible of half of gastro-enteritis breaks originating from food. This virus spreads mainly through direct contact with the infected people, or indirectly through objects, food, or dirty surfaces.

The effectiveness of disinfectants used for cleaning surfaces is therefore crucial to limit the spread of viruses.

The best strategy to prevent gastroenteritis

As a conclusion, the research suggests that the best strategy to limit the spread of the norovirus is to use a disinfectant containing bleach and leave it in contact with the surface for at least five minutes, ideally ten.

Clorox bleach wipes destroy C. difficile in five minutes!

 

2013-01-29-CloroxBot

10% of admitted patient will contract an HAI

The ministry of Health and Social Services estimates that in Quebec, between 80 000 and 90 000 hospitalized patients will present a nosocomial infection, which represents 10% of admitted patients. In addition to the measures suggested in the action plan on prevention and control of nosocomial infections 2010-2015, healthcare centers can count on an effective cleaning product: Clorox bleach disinfecting wipes.

Clorox Bleach Wipes are pre-humidified

Since March 2011, Clorox bleach wipes are effective for killing the spores of C. difficile after a contact time of 5 minutes. The wipes are pre-humidified with a stable solution of sodium hypochlorite diluted at 1:10, that is the recommended concentration by the American Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They are also homologated for the destruction of 31 other pathogen agents in one minute.

clorox-bleach-disinfecting-wipes

UV disinfection how does it works?

r2d2 UV disinfection

Since 1877, scientists know the microorganisms can be eliminated by UV rays. Nearly 50 years later, however, they discovered the specific type of frequency that was the most damaging.

In the 1950s, researchers knew that UV rays penetrate cells and damage the nucleic acids or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). This led to the commercial development of multiple UV disinfection devices, primarily with mercury vapor, which produces UV having the most effective frequency for the destruction of microorganisms. Today, UV disinfection devices use xenon UV rays.

UV disinfection is used in many hospitals

UV disinfection devices are used in hospitals such the ones in Vancouver and Hamilton. It is the natural evolution of the UV disinfection, to which are added the cleaning and disinfecting surface and a good dose of prevention.

Combined with touchless systems for bathrooms and public spaces, hospitals are able to reduce the number of surfaces to be disinfected to prevent nosocomial infections.

In any case, these robots do not replace the housekeeping staff but add a small sector futuristic air … don’t you see a family resemblance with this R2-D2 designed by Agent-Spiff?

We have UV solutions for you

Not to disinfect but to perform quality control. Visit our web site to find out more about it

Ebola, how does it spread?

top-2014-ebola-virus

The Ebola Virus

Ebola is a virus. There is currently no vaccine or treatment. It causes severe disease, causing serious symptoms including vomiting and bleeding. The mortality rate can reach 90%. Primary infection comes from a contact with an infected animal and it can spread quickly.

How can you get infected by Ebola?

By coming into contact with following bodily fluids such as blood, urine, feces and vomit. Of by one of the following means: by contact with a dead victim, by ingestion of infected animal meat or by having sexual intercourse with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

The symptoms of Ebola are fever, headache, nausea and fatigue. It may also include bleeding from nose, mouth or eyes, coughing, diarrhea or vomiting with the possible presence of blood.

How to prevent ebola transmission

The risk of transmission of the Ebola virus in Canada is very low. However, certain precautions must be taken. The Public Health Agency of Canada also recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There is a risk only if you have been in contact with sick people. In such case, if you experience symptoms, call 8-1-1 (Quebec) and inform them of your discomfort. You will be directed to the healthcare center care that can help you.

What to do to prevent the spread of Ebola virus

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in collaboration with the Institut nationale de santé publique du Québec has issued recommendations in case of an outbreak. It is important that each healthcare center that can receive a potentially infectious patient put in place appropriate precautionary measures. Thus, it is important to have the required equipment for this type of care.

Robots to destroy Ebola?

xenex-robots

Credit photo: Xenex website

Robots are soldiers in a war againt HAI’s

Two Canadian hospitals have recently acquired a machine enabling surface disinfection in health institutions.

The Juravinksi hospital in Hamilton has started a year trial of a robot that costs 95 000 $ that burns the bacteria with UV rays: the Xenex Robot System. The general hospital of Vancouver has also started a trial of a UV robot that is 1.65 meters tall, called the Tru-D Smart UVC, working with UV rays as well. The effectiveness of these machines relies on the properties of the UV rays, or rather on the xenon UV rays, to sterilize and kill microscopic contaminants.

Ebola outbreak

Recently, with the Ebola Outbreak, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where 42-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, was being treated, also uses such device. But was it enough? See this other blog post from my collegue: The Dallas case rises a question: Should protocols for infection control be revised?

What about your hospital?

The goal of these robots is not to replace the cleaning staff, nor the products employed for critical disinfections, but rather to complete their work, and to avoid that a single microscopic bacteria could take the life of a person whose immune system is weak.

Is your plan ready? Is your staff trained well enough? Do you have a stabilized chlorinated cleaner disinfectant in stock?

Do not miss our next post, which is going to explain how UV disinfection works!

More about Ebola Virus

There are a lot of ramblings about Ebola in 2014 on the web, you will find these articles interesting:

Ebola, How to disinfect surfaces

Ebola virus, Are we Ready?

Cleaning in Hospitals (part 2)

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source: http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/infos/lemonde/archives/2014/10/20141007-174935.html

The Dallas case rises a question: Should protocols for infection control be revised?

protocol-ebola

A nurse from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where a patient was treated for Ebola, contracted the disease. This is the first case of Ebola transmission in North America. Although the authorities are reassuring, the question arises in hospitals: Are protocols in place really effective?

The nurse in question, Ms. Nina Pham wore protective equipment as directed by the hospital. Indeed, she claims to have followed protocol at all times and she is unable to identify how she could have contracted the virus. It is assumed that methods of environmental control were in place so the room was disinfected daily with sodium hypochlorite as prescribed.

A breach of protocol?

The director of the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Dr. Thomas R. Frieden believes that treatment protocols were not followed to the letter “Clearly there was a breach in protocol. We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients.”

CDCs are investigating in order to identify how Ms. Pham may have acquired the infection. Protocols are of course being examined. They would be sufficient to protect healthcare workers from infection by the virus if followed properly. Nevertheless, removing the protective equipment is always pointed out as a critical step. In Europe, another investigation is under way to understand how a Spanish nurse found herself in the same situation.

No reported case in Quebec, yet

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in collaboration with the Institut nationale de santé publique du Québec has issued recommendations in case of an outbreak. It is important that each healthcare center that can receive a potentially infectious patient put in place appropriate precautionary measures. Thus, it is important to have the required equipment for this type of care.

At Lalema, we can help you by providing all the necessary protective equipment and disinfectant ! For any special needs, please contact us.

A virus transmitted from computers to humans

virus-norwalk-norovirus

Virus on my keyboard, really?

Did you know that your keyboard and mouse are covered with bacteria and viruses? This may sound obvious when we think about it. Using computers is very common and the risk to be infected seems banal. However, in certain environments such as hospitals this contamination could reveal critical.

In fact, many bacteria and virus breaks have been associated with computers. It’s the case for a hospital in Great Britain, where a study revealed that 42% of tested keyboards were contaminated with the MRSA bacteria, which was directly related to higher MRSA infections as compared to other hospitals where keyboard contamination was lower (1). Another study carried out in Great Britain found that keyboards had been a breeding-ground for the norovirus, which then lead to a break of gastro-enteritis. A virus transmitted from computers to humans… who would’ve thought about that!

Don’t panic, solutions exist!

First and unforgettable is hand washing. In order to limit bacteria and virus spreads, hand washing is essential. Then, to avoid washing our hands every time we use a computer, an alcohol-based antiseptic liquid would do the trick. If our hands are dirty, washing hands before touching the keyboard is also recommended. Finally, it is wise to disinfect your keyboard and mouse from time to time. A renowned researcher named William Rutala, or Bill for his friends, has demonstrated that computer keyboards do not seem to deteriorate after being cleaned 300 times with different disinfectant solutions.

Long story short, we often forget daily objects as being a breeding-ground for viruses and bacteria. For example, mobile phones are often neglected as well despite the fact that we touch them and constantly put them on our face.

But no need to become hypochondriac, it’s enough to follow basic preventive measures. In other words, make little changes and set frequent disinfections based on the risk associated with your environment.

 

(1). Devine J., Is methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ward-based computer terminals a surrogate marker for nosocomial MRSA transmission and handwashing compliance? J Hosp Infect. 2001;48:72-5

(2). Morter S., et coll. Norovirus in the hospital setting: virus introduction and spread within the hospital environment. J. Hosp Infect. 2011 Feb;77(2):106-12