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Infection Control

Three is the magic number to destroy bacteria

March 18, 2011
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WASHINGTON — Researchers believe that three is the magic number when it comes to removing germs and bacteria from plastic surfaces, according to Infection Control Today.

Research from a University of Alberta (U of A) study suggests that wiping a plastic surface three times will rid the surface of most bacteria, regardless of whether a disinfectant or other detergent is used, the article stated.

"It was the mechanical removal, not the actual act of the disinfectant that was key," said Sarah Forgie, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist in the Department of Pediatrics.

According to the article, three types of bacteria — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa — were prepared in a mixture and then put on sterile plastic Petri dishes for observation and testing.

Results demonstrated that bacterial counts continued to drop the more often a plate was wiped, the article noted.

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