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Are medical probes being adequately disinfected?

A number of alarming studies show that 3-7% of transvaginal ultrasound probes remain contaminated with human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA after the routine disinfection of ultrasound and medical probes and equipment.These and other reports suggest that inactivation of all microbial pathogens or high level disinfection may not always be properly achieved, which mostly depends on the quality of used disinfectants. The requirements is that semi-critical devices are high level disinfected, which includes the inactivation all microbial pathogens except large numbers of bacterial endospores.

The Reality

It is important to note that the HPV disinfection researches were conducted in France, and that the routine disinfection practice in France is often only a Low Level Disinfection, typically performed with quaternary ammonium compound wipes. Low level disinfection would not be expected to be effective against non-enveloped viruses such as HPV as they have a higher level of resistance to disinfection.

NOTE: The U.S. guidelines and standards recommend High-Level Disinfection of ultrasound probes, while this can vary internationally.

High-Level Disinfection and HPV

A recent study found that certain types of high level disinfectants, based on glutaraldehyde and OPA, were ineffective against the HPV virus even after prolonged exposure. The study concluded that oxidation-based disinfectants may be more effective at inactivating HPV. A 2015 study by Meyers confirms that hydrogen peroxide was effective in achieving a >4 log10 reduction of HPV16 and 186. Similar results have been published for other, highly resistant non-enveloped viruses such as parvoviruses and bacteria such as aldehyderesistant bacteria.

Non-enveloped viruses

HPV16 and 18 are classified as non-enveloped viruses. To demonstrate effectiveness against these and other viruses, the FDA requires the use of poliovirus as the marker virus. The resistance profiles of other non-enveloped viruses (human and animal pathogens) have been investigated. These include parvoviruses, coxsackieviruses, other enteroviruses, hepatitis A virus and noroviruses. Disinfection studies have shown that some of these viruses are distinctly more resistant than the poliovirus marker, in particular in studies with aldehyde-based disinfectants. The most resistant to date are the parvoviruses. Parvoviruses are small (18-26 mm), non-enveloped, hydrophilic, single-stranded DNA viruses.

Best to use for

When it comes to disinfection of medical probes and equipment, regular disinfectants can not guarantee reliable result. That is when the risk of transmission of different viruses, fungus and bacteria is rising.

Presented high quality medical high-level disinfectants are the best to use for sterilization of following medical probes and equipment:

  • Endoscope disinfecting cleaning
  • Laryngoscopes disinfecting cleaning
  • Arthroscope disinfecting cleaning 
  • Enteroscope disinfecting cleaning 
  • Bronchoscope disinfecting cleaning 
  • Laparoscope  disinfecting cleaning 
  • TEE disinfecting cleaning
  • Transesophageal  disinfecting cleaning  
  • Vaginal probe  disinfecting cleaning
  • Rectal probe  disinfecting cleaning
  • Vaginal transducer  disinfecting cleaning
  • Rectal transducer  disinfecting cleaning