Biofilms are a sticky matrix of proteins and sugar polymers created by bacteria as a way of protecting themselves. More specifically, biofilms consist of bacteria, moulds, yeasts and fungi, viruses and microscopic algae, and frequently show up inside pipes and in other very humid locations. Biofilms are ugly, smelly and uncomfortable to touch. But more importantly, they can pose a serious health risk. Drains at the bottom of sinks tend to be among the most popular bacterial breeding grounds for biofilm formation.
Biofilms: A critical issue for hospitals
While you’re unlikely to contract a serious illness from the biofilms found in your pipes at home, in hospitals, biofilms can be a downright plague, leading to numerous infections and diseases. This risk only multiplies in healthcare facilities that treat patients with weakened immune systems. As reservoirs of pathogenic organisms, biofilm formations pose the serious risk of patients contracting illnesses such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, VRE, Pseudomonas, Norovirus and MRSA.
70% of all illnesses and infections contracted in hospitals
are caused by the bacteria hidden in biofilms.
Biofilms: Hard to see, hard to eliminate
Always exercise caution when disposing of biofilms to prevent spreading the bacteria. Splashing water can allow bacteria to proliferate up to 6 feet around sinks, thereby greatly increasing the risk of contaminating surfaces and users.
We’ve known about biofilms for a long time now, but it’s only more recently that we’ve begun to understand how they actually work. We now know that to eliminate a biofilm, you first need to destroy the organic matrix to release the bacteria contained within it; only then will the bacteria be vulnerable to disinfection. Without destroying the biofilm itself, the bacteria and superbugs protected inside will continue to proliferate.
After several years of research, Wood Wyant, a subsidiary of Sani Marc Group, is introducing BioAssure, the first product certified by Health Canada to fight biofilms in healthcare facilities. BioAssure’s foam formula prolongs contact time on surfaces and in drains, enabling it to quickly disinfect surfaces and destroy the biofilms they contain. It is designed to be used as an integral part of any cleaning and sanitation program essential to achieving a high level of hygiene in healthcare facilities.