How Quickly Can Bacteria Repopulate on a Damp Endoscope?

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Applications

How Quickly Can Bacteria Repopulate on a Damp Endoscope?

“Gram-negative bacteria, which are the ‘bad bugs,’ can replicate very rapidly — doubling in number every 20 to 30 minutes,” Krystina M. Hopkins, research manager at Ofstead & Associates, Inc., says.

Moisture promotes the growth of mold, bacteria and biofilm on surfaces.

That’s why proper endoscope drying is an essential part of reprocessing, and a new webinar explores the consequences when not done properly as well as how to do it most effectively.

“Gram-negative bacteria, which are the ‘bad bugs,’ can replicate very rapidly — doubling in number every 20 to 30 minutes,” Krystina M. Hopkins, research manager at Ofstead & Associates, Inc., says. “What this means is if one bacteria survives HLD or sterilization and the conditions are just right, it will become two colonies in just 20 minutes. And each of those will have replicated in 20 minutes, becoming four colonies.”

At this rate, the single bacteria can replicate into eight colonies after one hour — and 2,097,152 after seven.

For this reason, standards and guidelines mandate endoscopes be thoroughly dried before storage or stored in special drying cabinets. Scopes should no longer be hung vertically to drip dry. Epidemiologist Cori L. Ofstead says new drying methods will take more time, space and equipment, but the investment is worth it.

You can watch the webinar in full here, where you’ll learn:

  • Background and rationale for evidence-based drying methods
  • Evidence from the field on drying effectiveness
  • Drying tools and equipment
  • Strategies for enhancing endoscope drying and storage practices

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