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Simple scrubs become active barrier protection
Feb '12
The use of Vestex fluid barrier / antimicrobial impregnated scrubs combined with good hand hygiene reduces the burden of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) on a new class of health care worker apparel and may play a role in decreasing the risk of MRSA transmission to patients, according to a new study from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) researchers.

Numerous studies last year confirmed the presence of high amounts of bacteria on healthcare worker attire. An Orlando company, Vestagen Technical Textiles, is addressing the issue by developing and marketing a new class of healthcare uniforms: Active Barrier Protective Apparel.

Led by Gonzalo Bearman, M.D.,M.P.H., associate professor of internal medicine in the VCU School of Medicine and associate hospital epidemiologist at the VCU Medical Center, the study “A Crossover Trial of Antimicrobial Scrubs to Reduce Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Burden on Healthcare Worker Apparel,” is currently available online and will appear in the March issue of the Journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the official publication of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

According to Bearman's research, the Vestex fluid barrier / antimicrobial scrubs had a statistically significant reduction, greater than a 99.99% reduction, in the overall amount of MRSA on the Vestex scrubs compared to normal scrubs. The Vestex Active Barrier Protective scrub uniforms tested in the study are manufactured by Vestagen Technical Textiles.

The researchers conclude “The antimicrobial scrubs tested were associated with decreased MRSA apparel microbial bioburden. When bundled with known infection prevention strategies such as hand hygiene, antimicrobial impregnated apparel may limit the bacterial burden of the inanimate environment. For settings with high rates of hospital-acquired infections with drug-resistant pathogens such as MRSA, the use of antimicrobial apparel may be a useful adjunct to other infection prevention measures.”

Vestex uses a dual mode of action to prevent the bacteria from being acquired and retained on the garment. The first mode of action, the fluid barrier, prevents the organism from being acquired on the garment. This important primary step allows the antimicrobial to be effective. As the infectious contaminants or fluids are repelled, the numbers of organisms that remain on the fabric are significantly reduced. By reducing the number of organisms retained on the garment there is a decreased the exposure time required for the antimicrobial to take action.

“We know that scrubs, lab coats and uniforms used by healthcare workers harbor the superbug MRSA and can put workers and patients at risk for infection,” explains Ben Favret, President and CEO of Vestagen. “Our mission is to protect healthcare workers, their patients and the community from the acquisition, retention and transmission of infectious diseases. Dr. Bearman 's research builds upon the scientific evidence documenting how well Vestex Active Barrier Protective Apparel performs that mission.”

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