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Bacterial resistance to biocides in the healthcare environment: should it be of genuine concern?

This article reviews in vitro studies which show that bacteria have an immense capacity to respond to chemical stress from biocides. However, the response from bacteria exposed to biocide in conditions close to those found in practice suggests that this resistance does not adequately describe bacterial survival mechanisms, and that biofilm resistance and environmental resistance would be therefore more appropriate. The lack of evidence of bacterial resistance in practice and the inability to correlate emerging bacterial resistance from in vitro experiments with practical situations is a major drawback. Resistance to high or in-use concentration of biocides has been described in practice, but remains uncommon. The efficacy of biocides in eliminating bacterial contaminants within healthcare facilities has to be questioned in relation to the increasing use of products containing low concentrations of biocide or possessing low bactericidal activity. Journal of Hospital Infection 2007;65(suppl 2):60-72.

Author: Maillard JY

Published: 01/01/2007

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Journal of Hospital Infection