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article imageNew 'armor' in the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria Special

By W. Mark Dendy     Feb 5, 2014 in Health
Orlando - Out on the front lines of the battle against drug resistant microorganisms aka “super-bugs” are physicians and other health-care workers.
Their uniform, the clothing that they wear, is their armor — their defense against deadly pathogens.
On Jan. 21, 2014, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) set forth new guidelines for attire worn by Health Care workers in non-operating room settings.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that clothing worn by doctors and others working in health care environments is contaminated with potential pathogens. And although the role of clothing in transmission of these microorganisms to patients has not been established, health care workers have the highest rate of illness of any occupation in the U.S.
Attacking the problem of drug resistant microorganisms like Methicillin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) on numerous fronts has shown limited success. While methods such as strengthening antibiotics and employing phages to attack these rapidly evolving micro-monsters should continue to be explored, protecting the health care worker must be the number one priority.
That's where a new innovative textile developed by Vestagen Technical Textiles comes in.
Vestagen, an Orlando, Florida based start-up, has developed a revolutionary fabric that provides doctors, nurses, lab techs, and anyone that is at risk of being spattered with blood or other bacteria-laden bodily fluids.
Ben Favret, president and CEO of Vestagen said in an interview, "There are strict textile standards to protect health care workers in operating rooms, but not outside of the operating room where there are many splashes, splatters and spills. But because personal protection apparel is generally uncomfortable, compliance is often as low as 30 percent."
Favret said this innovative new Vestex® garment is what OSHA calls an “engineering control” because it protects the worker but does not change the what they are doing or how they do it.
“Health care has changed a lot," said Favret, a 23-year veteran in the health care industry.
"Health care is practiced in the home setting, in the ambulatory surgical centers. Today, these organisms that used to be found only in the ICUs, are now found in our kids' schools,” he said.
“The primary purpose of the Vestex® fabric”, Favret said, “is first to protect the health care worker. “
“If we do a good job taking care of the health care workers, they will do a good job taking care of the patients,” he explained. “We wash our hands to reduce the bio-burden and reduce the risk of infection and transmission of bacteria and we wipe the surfaces of the tables and chairs to reduce the contamination. Following that same logic, Vestex® garments reduce the bacteria.”
Vestex® fabric is engineered to repel fluids from the outside, wick away moisture from the inside, and is impregnated with a broad spectrum antimicrobial essentially reducing the level of contamination and potentially reduces the risk to the health care worker and the patient.
According to NBC News, one study that SHEA looked at found " a third of doctors’ neckties grew Staph aureus in the lab" some of which showed antibiotic resistance.
In a clinical study published in the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers reported a statistically significant MRSA reduction of more than 99.99 percent on the Vestex® scrubs compared to standard uniforms.
The Vestex® fabric wicks away moisture from the body on the inside while repelling liquids on the outside. Workers using Vestex® scrubs maintain that they are comfortable and do keep they dry.
Vestex® scrubs retail for $35 compared to a range of $20 to $25 for standard scrubs found at any local uniform store. I asked Favret if the cost could be a drawback to the majority of health care workers — those who have to purchase their own uniforms.
His response was. "Health care workers will be vomited on at least once a week. If you knew I was going to vomit on you and you could stop it by paying me 10 dollars, would you pay it?"
Point taken.
More about Antibioticresistant bacteria, Infections, Healthcare, Doctors, Nurses
 
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