Novaerus has launched its White Paper, entitled: Controlling healthcare-acquired infections in the superbug era: Why hand hygiene and surface cleaning are not enough.

An initial extract of the policy document can be read below:

Hospitals today face an acute crisis: the spread of infection among patients.

In high-income countries, 5% to 10% of hospitalized patients — including 30% of patients in intensive care units — contract an infection during their stay. Each year, in Europe and the United States, hospital pathogens infect nearly 6 million patients and are responsible for 140,000 deaths.

On any given day, more than 1.4 million hospitalized patients around the world and 80,000 in Europe are estimated to have at least one healthcare-associated infection; compared to other patients, they may be 80% more likely to die within 90 days. In developing countries, as the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, the childhood death rate from hospital-acquired infections equates to “a plane crashing every hour.”

Even the cleanest hospitals can serve as breeding grounds for dangerous microbes. Viral particles launched by a sneeze — or by a change of bed linens — hover in the air, to be inhaled by patients or to land on intravenous poles. Pathogens deposited into a box of surgical gloves hitch a ride, via central line, to a patient’s bloodstream, or via catheter to the urinary tract. Bacteria travel from the bed rail of an infected patient to the hands of a nurse and from there to vulnerable patients. The web of transmission routes is vast, complex, and invisible.

Pneumonia, meningitis, colitis, gastroenteritis, peritonitis, sepsis — the infections acquired at hospitals can be serious and debilitating. Many turn lethal, or nearly so, because of a parallel crisis: the dramatic increase in antimicrobial resistance. Because of antibiotic misuse, antimicrobialtreatment is increasingly difficult and less successful.“

We’ve reached the point where patients are dying of infections in hospitals that we have no antibiotics to treat,” cautions Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., associate director for healthcare associated prevention programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Hospitals are confronting high readmission rates, higher mortality rates, temporary closures due to infection outbreaks, and an alarmed public. Headlines such as “Your Hospital Can Make YouSick” do not inspire confidence.

None of this will come as news to informed hospital staff. But what may surprise even those immersed in infection control: hand hygiene and surface cleaning, long considered the gold-standard solutions, will not suffice to halt this crisis, even if compliance rates are improved. These strategies, along with strong policies to halt antibiotic misuse, remain as critical as ever, but they also are inherently limited — and, in the superbug era, increasingly inadequate.

“We are trying to solve problems of today with instruments of the past,” notes Ojan Assadian, MD, an infectious disease consultant and president of the Austrian Society for Infection Control. “It is time to rethink our approach and combine existing strategies with new technology.”

A substantial portion of hospital acquired infections are preventable — including up to 70% of bloodstream infections transmitted by catheter and 55% of ventilator-associated pneumonia and surgical site infections. But to achieve gains, hospitals must become more diligent about preventing infection and more innovative in their approach.

This paper explains the current limitations of hand hygiene and surface cleaning in clinical practice and how a third strategy — air disinfection, to inactivate viable particles before they settle on surfaces — can provide additional protection against the infections that, every day and at every hospital, threaten lives, health, and revenue.

To download a full copy of the White Paper, click here.

For more information about Novaerus, visit: