Self-disinfecting sink drains reduce thePseudomonas aeruginosabioburden in a neonatal intensive care unit
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AIM: Water in sink drains is a known source of gram-negative bacteria. We aimed to evaluate the impact of self-disinfecting sink drains on the emission of aerosolised bacteria and on Pseudomonas aeruginosa acquisition among neonates. METHODS: Aerosol bacterial growth and patient Pseudomonas aeruginosa acquisition rates were measured at baseline (Phase One), for 13 months after sinks were relocated or redesigned during refurbishment (Phase Two) and for 13 months after introducing self-disinfecting sink drains (Phase Three). RESULTS: Cultures were positive for bacterial growth in 56%, 24% and 13% of the tested aerosols in Phases One, Two and Three, respectively. Comparing Phases Two and Three produced an odds ratio (OR) of 0.47, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.22-0.99 (p = 0.047), for all bacteria and an OR of 0.31 and CI of 0.12-0.79 (p = 0.013) for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Rates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa positive clinical cultures were 0.34, 0.27 and 0.13 per 1000 patient days during the respective phases, with a significant increase of time to the next positive clinical culture in Phase Three. CONCLUSION: Self-disinfecting sink drains were superior to sink replacements in preventing emissions from aerosols pathogens and may reduce hospital-acquired infections. The bioburden reduction should be confirmed in a larger multicentre trial.