May 23, 2008 / 2:46 PM / in 11 years

Crime scene chemical could make hospitals cleaner

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The use of Luminol, a bioluminescent chemical used in crime investigations to detect trace amounts of blood, might improve infection control in hospitals, Dutch researchers report.

In a study reported in the Journal of Hospital Infection, Dr. P. W. M. Bergervoet and colleagues, from Deventer Ziekenhuis, describe the use of Luminol in their dialysis units, noting that transmission of hepatitis C often occurs in this setting and may be related to blood contamination of the hospital environment.

To the naked eye, the dialysis unit looked clean. When tested with Luminol, however, traces of blood were seen on numerous surfaces, including dialysis control panels, telephones, and the floor, even though some of them had been cleaned.

Citing previous research, the investigators note that most dialysis workers are unaware of the risk their patients face from blood-borne infections and most do not strictly adhere to hand hygiene recommendations and glove use.

“In our opinion, a possible solution for improving this behavior is to improve basic knowledge about possible transmission routes. This could be achieved by making invisible blood traces visible with the Luminol method,” the investigators believe.

SOURCE: Journal of Hospital Infection 2008.

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