Comparison of the Efficacy of a Hydrogen Peroxide Dry-Mist Disinfection System and Sodium Hypochlorite Solution for Eradication of Clostridium difficile Spores

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To compare a hydrogen peroxide dry-mist system and a 0.5% hypochlorite solution with respect to their ability to disinfect Clostridium difficile–contaminated surfaces in vitro and in situ.


Prospective, randomized, before-after trial.


Two French hospitals affected by C. difficile.


In situ efficacy of disinfectants was assessed in rooms that had housed patients with C. difficile infection. A prospective study was performed at 2 hospitals that involved randomization of disinfection processes. When a patient with C. difficile infection was discharged, environmental contamination in the patient's room was evaluated before and after disinfection. Environmental surfaces were sampled for C. difficile by use of moistened swabs; swab samples were cultured on selective plates and in broth. Both disinfectants were tested in vitro with a spore-carrier test; in this test, 2 types of material, vinyl polychloride (representative of the room's floor) and laminate (representative of the room's furniture), were experimentally contaminated with spores from 3 C. difficile strains, including the epidemic clone ribotype 027–North American pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type 1.


There were 748 surface samples collected (360 from rooms treated with hydrogen peroxide and 388 from rooms treated with hypochlorite). Before disinfection, 46 (24%) of 194 samples obtained in the rooms randomized to hypochlorite treatment and 34 (19%) of 180 samples obtained in the rooms randomized to hydrogen peroxide treatment showed environmental contamination. After disinfection, 23 (12%) of 194 samples from hypochlorite-treated rooms and 4 (2%) of 180 samples from hydrogen peroxide treated rooms showed environmental contamination, a decrease in contamination of 50% after hypochlorite decontamination and 91% after hydrogen peroxide decontamination (P < .005). The in vitro activity of 0.5% hypochlorite was time dependent. The mean (±SD) reduction in initial log10 bacterial count was 4.32±0.35 log10 colony-forming units after 10 minutes of exposure to hypochlorite and 4.18±0.8 log10 colony-forming units after 1 cycle of hydrogen peroxide decontamination.


In situ experiments indicate that the hydrogen peroxide dry-mist disinfection system is significantly more effective than 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution at eradicating C. difficile spores and might represent a new alternative for disinfecting the rooms of patients with C. difficile infection.

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