"At Clorox Healthcare, we are dedicated to safeguarding patient environments and continuously strive to ensure our surface disinfectants meet the needs of the ever-changing healthcare environment," says Lynda Lurie, director – Marketing, Clorox Healthcare. "We made these changes proactively so that healthcare professionals can be prepared for whatever comes through their doors, wherever care is delivered."
In an increasingly global and interconnected society, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases present serious challenges for healthcare facilities. This is especially true of viral pathogens with high potential for hospital-associated transmission, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, which caused large hospital outbreaks in Saudi Arabia in 2013 and 2014 and in South Korea in 2015, Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are included in the World Health Organization 2017 list of priority diseases likely to cause severe outbreaks. Scientific evidence has shown that viruses, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and certain strains of the influenza virus, can survive on surfaces for extended periods, sometimes up to months, and may play a role in transmission.
The ease of modern travel has only served to increase the risk and potential impact of disease transmission at the domestic and global level, and underscores the need for disinfectants healthcare professionals can trust.
To help safeguard patient environments against emerging and re-emerging threats, Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes and Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Cleaners are now EPA-registered to kill SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, Enterovirus D68, the Measles virus, and Influenza A and Influenza B viruses, both of which are major causes of flu in U.S. They have also gained disinfecting claims for common causes of HAIs including Staphylococcus epidermidis (CoNS), Candida glabrata and Enteroccocus hirae.
Long trusted for their broad-spectrum disinfection efficacy and utility in C. difficile infection prevention protocols, Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes are now EPA-registered to kill 58 microorganisms in three minutes or less. Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Cleaners are now EPA-registered to kill 50 microorganisms in three minutes or less.
Today, C. difficile is one of the most prevalent causes of HAIs in the U.S. and remains a top priority for hospital leaders nationwide. In fiscal year 2017, C. difficile infections will also result in financial penalties for "preventable" HAIs under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
C. difficile spores, which are found in the intestines and shed via feces, can persist in the environment for months, making surface disinfection a vital component of infection prevention strategies. Since 2009, the EPA has worked to standardize the methodology and regulatory guidance related to disinfectants designed to treat surfaces contaminated with C. difficile spores. The latest EPA Interim Guidance, issued in June 2014, updated C. difficile testing standards to include using a clinically relevant C. difficile strain and measuring disinfection efficacy in the presence of a three-part organic soil load.
"The presence of soil creates a more challenging and more realistic environment for disinfection, given that many studies show surfaces are frequently missed during the pre-cleaning step required by the EPA before disinfection against C. difficile spores," says Hedi Modaressi, department manager – R&D, Clorox Healthcare. "That's why we proactively tested our ready-to-use bleach germicidal disinfectants using current EPA recommended standards, which more accurately mimic the real-world conditions they need to perform in to help keep the patient environment clean and safe."
The new testing standards create a higher challenge for sporicidal disinfectant efficacy. Through voluntary testing, Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal disinfectants have been able to maintain, and in some cases improve, contact times, killing 99.9999% of C. difficile spores – the EPA's required threshold for efficacy – within three minutes, even in the presence of the three-part organic soil load.