Controlling harmful bacteria on medical equipment

Mark Holm Olsen

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Controlling harmful bacteria on medical equipment

Since 2006, the Danish Technological Institute has led a consortium which has been developing methods which will make possible the diagnosis, prevention and control of harmful micro-organisms on medical equipment. Every year 5-10% of all hospital patients contract some kind of hospital infection as a result of bacteria on urinary catheters, vein catheters, heart valves and chronic sores. Of these some 200-300 patients die from being infected by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.

Major leaps forward were made in the consortium’s work in 2007, as researchers from Aalborg University, the Danish Technical University and the Danish Technological Institute investigated and gained new knowledge about the harmful micro-organisms which are present on various types of medical equipment.

Completely new molecular-biological methods were used together with advanced microscopic techniques to identify micro-organisms as well as visualise the build-up of bio-film. This was done in collaboration with Rigshospitalet - Copenhagen University Hospital and Bispebjerg Hospital. Through careful analysis, the partners in the project have found out that there is a large diversity of bacteria which cannot be detected using traditional diagnostic methods.

Furthermore, the results have led to the participating company partners gaining valuable insight into how infections occur. This knowledge is being applied in the development of new advanced medical products such as Coloplast’s new plasters.

The partners in the project are currently working on developing and establishing quicker and more precise detection methods as well as more bacteria-specific treatments.