SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol Generation During Respiratory Equipment Reprocessing

Bruna, et al. (2021) acknowledge that aerosolization may occur during reprocessing of medical devices, adding that within the current coronavirus pandemic, it is important to understand the necessity of using respirators in the cleaning area of the sterile processing department. The researchers sought to evaluate the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the air of the sterile processing department during the reprocessing of contaminated medical devices.

Air and surface samples were collected from the sterile processing department of two teaching tertiary hospitals during the reprocessing of respiratory equipment used in patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 and from intensive care units during treatment of these patients. SARS-CoV-2 was detected only in one air sample before the beginning of decontamination process. Viable severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA was not detected in any sample collected from around symptomatic patients or in sterile processing department samples.

The researchers say the cleaning of respiratory equipment does not cause aerosolization of SARS-CoV-2.

They add that they believe that the use of medical masks is sufficient while reprocessing medical devices during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Reference: Bruna C, et al. SARS-CoV-2 aerosol generation during respiratory equipment reprocessing. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 10, Article number 82. 2021.

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