EVS Workers on the Lookout for Drug-Resistant Fungus

Health care facility cleaning more important than ever as fungal infection sweeps the globe

April 10, 2019

The efforts of environmental services (EVS) workers in eliminating bacteria and viruses that lead to health care-acquired infections are crucial in preserving the health of patients. Knowledge of terminal cleaning procedures focusing on the proper use of gloves and gowns, the correct order and method of wiping down hospital rooms, and the appropriate cleaners and disinfectants is especially important with the relatively recent discovery of an antibiotic-resistant fungus affecting health care facilities worldwide.

The fungus, Candida auris, was first found in Japan in 2009 and is now in more than 20 countries. In the United States, the fungus is most prevalent in New York, followed by Illinois, which it reached by 2016, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Last year, tests conducted in the New York, NY hospital room of an elderly man who died of C. auris found the fungus on nearly every surface of the room, The New York Times reports. EVS workers needed special cleaning equipment and maintenance workers had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to remove the germs from the room.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) C. auris kills nearly half of the people who contract the infection within 90 days. CDC recommendations for management of the fungus include keeping patients with C. auris in separate rooms and cleaning and disinfecting the room and equipment daily. The fungus has been found throughout patient rooms, including bedrails, blood pressure cuffs, nursing carts, and window sills. Common antibacterials may not be effective against the fungus, so the CDC recommends extra-strength hospital-grade disinfectants.


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