Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) represent the most common adverse event in the intensive care unit (ICU). Their prevalence is high and they are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The environment plays a central role in the transmission of hospital-acquired pathogens (HAP) and in the pathogenesis of HAI. Many bacteria, especially multidrug resistant ones, can survive for several months in the hospital environment in particular in areas close to the patients. It has been proven that pathogens are transmitted from the environment to the patients. Many studies have concluded that current cleaning methods are microbiologically ineffective. This failure concerns daily cleaning as well as terminal cleaning after patient discharge. It has been demonstrated that improvements in environmental cleaning are associated with a decrease in the rate of HAP and of HAI. New cleaning methods could enhance hospital cleaning efficiency. Three new technologies seem promising because they are microbiologically effective, easy and safe to use: (1) hydrogen peroxide vapor and (2) UV light decontamination are used for terminal cleaning. These techniques are effective even in difficultly accessible areas. (3) ultramicrofibers which can be associated with a copper-based biocide can be used for daily cleaning. Other methods such as ozone, steam or high-efficiency particulate air filtration are not efficient enough to be considered serious contenders for the improvement of the quality of the hospital environment. These new technologies have not been yet linked to a decrease in the prevalence and the incidence in HAP and HAI. It remains difficult to justify the extra-cost associated with these new methods until more studies can confirm their effectiveness in the management of HAI.
Keywords: Multidrug resistant bacteria, intensive care, room cleaning, Hospital-acquired infections (HAI), microbiologically ineffective, hospital-acquired pathogens (HAP), Transmission of pathogens, contaminated surfaces, environmental surfaces, VRE-colonized patient, visual cleanliness, environmental contamination, extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), Gram negative bacilli (GNB), microbiologically effective, bioluminescence