Gaseous and air decontamination technologies for Clostridium difficile in the healthcare environment

A. Davies*, T. Pottage, Allan Bennett, J. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


The recent data for hospital-acquired infections suggest that infection rates for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile are beginning to decrease. However, while there is still pressure to maintain this trend, the resistance of C. difficile spores to standard detergents continues to present a problem for many UK hospitals trying to prevent its spread or control outbreaks. Alternative disinfection technologies such as gaseous decontamination are currently being marketed to the healthcare sector as an alternative/supplement to manual disinfection, and have been shown to be effective in reducing environmental contamination. When used correctly, they offer a complementary technology to manual cleaning that increases the probability of an effective reduction in viability and provides a comparatively uniform distribution of disinfectant. Three gaseous decontamination technologies are examined for their suitability in reducing environmental contamination with C. difficile: gaseous hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide and ozone. Air decontamination and UV-based technologies are also briefly described. We conclude that while there is a role to play for these new technologies in the decontamination of ward surfaces contaminated with C. difficile, the requirement for both a preclean before use and the limited 'in vivo' evidence means that extensive field trials are necessary to determine their cost-effectiveness in a healthcare setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Aerosol
  • Cleaning
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Detergent
  • Disinfection]


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