Washing out the hospital bugs danger

A COMPANY is helping beat the deadly superbugs that hide in laundry at hospitals and care homes. JHC Ltd based in Stotfold has designed a system that can flush out the majority of the bugs, some of which have been known to be fatal, when laundry is being

A COMPANY is helping beat the deadly superbugs that hide in laundry at hospitals and care homes.

JHC Ltd based in Stotfold has designed a system that can flush out the majority of the bugs, some of which have been known to be fatal, when laundry is being washed.

A report by the Laundry Technology Centre published this week say JHC's ozone disinfection unit called O-Clean, was proven to destroy some of the most deadly superbugs incubating in dirty laundry.

These include MRSA which contributed to the deaths of over 1,000 people in the UK in 2004. Another bug, clostridium difficile, a spore forming micro-organism whose protective shell is notoriously difficult to penetrate, was reduced to safe levels.


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The test washes included pillow cases and nurses' uniforms, often responsible for spreading infections, which had been contaminated with four potentially lethal micro-organisms, soiled with human faeces and animal blood, and incubated at room temperature for 48 hours.

After being washed at low temperatures by the O-Clean system, the garments underwent detailed laboratory analysis that revealed disinfection had been achieved.

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The system works by injecting ozone into the wash cycle. Ozone is a powerful, natural disinfectant which has been proven in the US for over 15 years and is used to purify drinking water. It is over 3,000 times faster acting than chlorine bleach.

Richard Neale, director of the Laundry Technology Centre which carried out the tests, said: "Ozone disinfection represents a quantum leap forward, especially for those not presently employing thermal disinfection, because it enables disinfection without increases in process time and energy costs."

Hospitals and care homes could harness the benefits of the new technology immediately without the disruption and prohibitive costs of investing in entirely new equipment, because O-Clean systems can be fitted to existing washing machines.

Peter Marsh, JHC's chief executive, said: "Nurses' uniforms, bedding and patient clothing all risk spreading a range of infections including potentially deadly superbugs.

"Now we have independent proof that this can be prevented by washing laundry with the O-Clean system.

"The technology is set to play a vital role in the battle of the superbugs in hospitals and care homes across the UK.

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