What’s lurking in hospital waste traps and does it matter?

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are increasingly important causes of healthcare-associated infection. CRE are resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics and frequently resistant to other classes of antimicrobials meaning clinical infections are difficult to treat and are associated with high mortality. Acquisition of CRE primarily occurs among hospitalised patients and recent cases have suggested that some CRE infections may be linked to hospital sinks, waste traps and drains.
A unique laboratory model has been designed and built at PHE Porton and is being used to investigate the colonisation and proliferation of CRE within sink waste traps and the potential for contaminated splashes to transfer viable organisms from the drain to surrounding surfaces. This presentation will focus on drain biofilms, the impact of inappropriate waste disposal (e.g. liquids, plastics and wipes) and potential control strategies.

Ginny Moore, Biosafety, air and water microbiology group, Public Health England