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CDC and HICPAC have recommendations in both 2003 Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities and the 2008 Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities that state that the CDC does not support disinfectant fogging. Specifically, the 2003 and 2008 Guidelines state: These recommendations refer to the spraying or fogging of chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde, phenol-based agents, or quaternary ammonium compounds) as a way to decontaminate environmental surfaces or disinfect the air in patient rooms. Furthermore, some of these chemicals are not EPA-registered for use in fogging-type applications. These recommendations do not apply to newer technologies involving fogging for room decontamination (e – Disinfection Cleaning Companies.g., ozone mists, vaporized hydrogen peroxide) that have become available since the 2003 and 2008 recommendations were made. These newer technologies were assessed by CDC and HICPAC in the 2011 Guideline for the Prevention and Control of Norovirus Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Healthcare Settings, which makes the recommendation: The 2003 and 2008 recommendations still apply; however, CDC does not yet make a recommendation regarding these newer technologies.

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Decontamination renders an item or material safe to handle. The level of microbial contamination is reduced enough that it can be reasonably assumed free of risk of infection transmission. Sterilization, disinfection, and antisepsis are forms of decontamination. A sterile surface/object is completely free of living microorganisms and viruses. Sterilization procedures kill all microorganisms. – the probability of a microorganism surviving on an item subjected to treatment is less than one in one million. Autoclaving (saturated steam under pressure of approximately 15 psi to achieve a chamber temperature of at least 121oC for a prescribed time) rapidly achieves destruction of microorganisms, decontaminates infectious waste and sterilizes laboratory glassware, media, and reagents (Sterilization Methods).

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Before using the autoclave, check the drain screen at the bottom of the chamber and clean it, if blocked. If the sieve is blocked with debris, a layer of air may form at the bottom of the autoclave, preventing efficient operation (Sterilization and Disinfection). Prevention of entrapment of air is critical to achieving sterility. Chemical indicators, e.g. Sterilization Definition., autoclave tape, must be used with each load placed in the autoclave. The use of autoclave tape alone is not an adequate monitor of efficacy. Autoclave sterility monitoring should be conducted on a regular basis (at least monthly) using appropriate biological indicators (B. stearothermophilus spore strips) placed at locations throughout the autoclave.

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Each type of container employed should be spore tested. Decontaminate all infectious materials and all contaminated equipment or labware before washing, storage or discard as infectious waste. Autoclaving is the preferred method. Never leave an autoclave in operation unattended (do not start a cycle prior to leaving for the evening). Eliminates most pathogens but not necessarily all types of microbes. Disinfection reduces the level of microbial contamination. Chemical disinfection does not kill spores, unlike chemical sterilization. Some common laboratory disinfectants include freshly prepared10% bleach and 70% ethanol. Chemical Germicide Activity Level: High Level Disinfection Comprises high concentrations of chemical germicides (ex: concentrated sodium hypochlorite).

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Not for use on environmental surfaces like floors or lab benches Intermediate Level Disinfection Kills vegetative microorganisms, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, all fungi, and inactivates most viruses EPA Approved Hospital Disinfectants which are also tuberculocidal fall into this category May be used for housekeeping and disinfection of laboratory benches Low Level Disinfection Kills most vegetative bacteria, some fungi, and inactivates some viruses – Disinfection Services.