Getting Real About Superbugs

What we really need to know

There’s no question that microbes are all around us, including on our skin and living in our gut in the trillions. In fact, we couldn’t live without them. However, we also know that increasing antibiotic resistance is a significant concern in the medical community. And that antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” cause deadly outbreaks, even in medical centers know for providing the highest quality of care.

America, we need to talk

An opinion piece published in the New York Times contends that a code of silence has prevented better public understanding of the risk and prevalence of superbug outbreaks. There are gaps in sharing and communication between states, responsible for outbreak investigations, and the Centers for Disease Control, because reporting is not mandated. Affected facilities are reluctant to share information with the public, preferring to avoid bad publicity.

The author, Matt McCarthy, an infectious-disease doctor at Weill Cornell, also warns that information should be provided in the proper context to avoid unintended effects. “In a worst-case scenario, more transparency could lead to patients avoiding medical care out of a misplaced fear of encountering drug-resistant bacteria.”

Protocols to keep the bugs at bay

Disclosure is not about whether superbugs have been identified in a facility; rather, as medical consumers, we should want evidence that protocols are in place and diligently followed to minimize risk to patients, staff, and the public. Examples listed by the author include environmental cleaning and disinfection, antibiotic stewardship, and isolation procedures. Additional protocols for perioperative practices, biohazard transport, and reprocessing of medical instruments are critical to safety and infection prevention.

Cleaning is the critical first step

One of the most quoted truisms of instrument reprocessing is that cleaning is the most important step of the process, because if an instrument is not clean, it can’t be effectively disinfected or sterilized. That’s why you want your best tools at hand when tackling cleaning challenges.

At Case Medical we support best practices. We have products for sterilization, transport and cleaning of medical devices.  We understand that the folks in the reprocessing department require products of the highest quality, that meet the needs of patients and staff.  When you use Penta Wipes® Multi-Enzymatic Surface Cleaning Wipes, you enlist enzymes and surfactants at the start of the process to remove gross soil and break down bioburden, even if you can’t see it. Keep a canister anywhere cleaning is required for the ultimate in convenience and cleaning confidence.

The only multi-enzymatic wipe

Penta Wipes® Multi-Enzymatic Surface Cleaning Wipes are the only cleaning wipes available pre-moistened with a multi-enzymatic cleaner (BONUS: it's a US Safer Choice-awarded cleaner!). For cleaning surgical devices with enzymatic activity, wipe, allow moisture to remain for two minutes, then rinse thoroughly, as you should with all cleaners. For environmental surfaces, wipe thoroughly, then follow with Case Medical’s Alcohol Wipes.