VRE superbug threat

VRE superbug develops resistance to hand sanitizers

News that the VRE superbug may be developing a tolerance to hand sanitizers in hospitals has been hitting the headlines lately.

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According to the Smithsonian magazine, researchers have found that a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria called vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) is becoming increasingly resistant to alcohol-based disinfectants.

In fact, when they took 139 samples of a strain of VRE that they had collected from hospitals between 1997 and 2015 and exposed them to alcohol solutions, they found that samples collected after 2010 were 10 times more tolerant to alcohol than the earlier ones.

Whilst, the VRE bacteria are not yet fully resistant to hand sanitizers, the newer samples survived for longer after being exposed to alcohol solutions.

What’s more, only VRE exposed to a 70% alcohol mixture were killed completely, a matter for concern considering that many hand sanitizers only contain 60% alcohol concentrations.

What are VRE?

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci bacteria can be found in the intestines and female genital tract.

Whilst they are not usually a problem for healthy people, they can cause urinary tract, wound and bloodstream infections in immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing cancer treatment.

For this reason, it is vital that hospitals continue to find a way to keep the VRE superbug at bay.

How the tackle the VRE superbug

Taking a look at the type of hand sanitisers and disinfectants that you are using is key to tackling VRE. That is because the above study is showing resistance acquisition by bacteria to Propan-2-ol (iPA), something used in some but not all hand sanitizers.

By using a product such as Virusan, which is based on 70% w/w Ethanol, rather than Propan-2-ol, and CHG (Chlorhexidine Gluconat /Chlorhexidine Digluconate) as active ingredients, you can rest assured that you are using a hand sanitiser that is effective against VRE.

Similarly, if you are looking for a cleaner and disinfectant for floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces that is effective at destroying VRE, then Virusolve+ will do this for you.

If you would like to find out more about Virusan Hand Sanitiser click here. In addition to being effective against Vancomycin-resistant Enterococi, it will also kill MRSA, fungi, HBV, HBC, HIV and much more.

For information on Virusan Antimicrobial Hand Scrub, Virusolve+ and our other infection control products for hospitals, just click here.