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Am J Infect Control. 2013 May;41(5 Suppl):S77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.12.008.

The role of biofilms in reprocessing medical devices.

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Advanced Sterilization Products, Johnson & Johnson, Irvine, CA, USA.


Biofilms are communities of microorganisms within extracellular polymeric material attached to surfaces. Within a biofilm, cells have some protection from drying and other stress factors in their environment, including antimicrobial agents. In this article, the challenges to medical device reprocessing posed by biofilms are addressed. Biofilm formation on reusable medical device surfaces is a risk that can be controlled. By ensuring prompt device cleaning and reprocessing either by high-level disinfection or sterilization and proper drying, biofilms will not have a chance to form. Reusable medical devices like flexible endoscopes that are promptly cleaned and disinfected, rinsed and dried pose little risk to patients.

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