Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) are reported each year. Contamination of hospitals is a source of, and allows dissemination of HAIs. In healthcare settings one of the major vectors of contamination is healthcare workers’ uniforms. As surfaces become contaminated, bacteria can then be contacted by patients or staff who may indirectly spread bacteria to patients. Direct and indirect spread of bacteria could result in infection of patients and increased infection rates. Further consequences include increased levels of antibiotic use and costs. A pilot study was conducted at Antrim Area Hospital, Northern Health and Social Care Trust. 100 pre-shift and 100 post-shift healthcare workers’ uniforms were assessed for Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp. isolates. We found increased levels of antibiotic resistant S. aureus and Enterococcus spp. contamination on post-shift uniforms compared to zero to minimal contamination of pre-shift uniforms. A biobank of isolates was subsequently characterised for antibiotic sensitivity using European Union Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) guidelines – 51 % of S. aureus isolates were classed multi-drug resistant. Genomic diversity was assessed using Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) – high levels of similarity was found amongst isolates. As one means of reducing uniform bioburden, we conducted analysis of a novel surface-active organisilane disinfectant named Goldshield (GS). GS was marketed as a long lasting antimicrobial prevent (re)contamination. GS technology displayed bactericidal, sporicidal and anti-biofilm properties in laboratory testing providing rationale for an intervention where GS could be incorporated into hospital laundry and assessed for potential use in infection control.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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