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Study Finds Wipes May Spread Disease

June 4, 2008

The wipes killed some bacteria, but a study showed they did not get them all.

According to a study by Gareth Williams, a microbiologist at U.K.-based Cardiff University, disinfectant wipes routinely used in hospitals may actually spread drug-resistant bacteria rather than kill the dangerous infections. British researchers announced yesterday that the wipes killed some bacteria, but a study of two hospitals showed they did not get them all and could transfer the so-called superbugs to other surfaces.

The findings presented at the American Society of Microbiology's general meeting in Boston, MA focused on bacteria that included methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. "What we have found is there is a high risk," Mr. Williams said. "We need to give guidance to the staff on how to use the wipes because we found there is a possibility of cross transfer."

MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities. The superbug can cause life-threatening and disfiguring infections and can often only be treated with expensive, intravenous antibiotics.

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