March 1 (UPI) -- A new sanitation system could make hospitals cleaner and safer for patients.
The Probiotic Cleaning Hygiene System method eliminated 52 percent of all healthcare-associated infections, which usually have a higher resistance to antibiotics than other types of infection, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.
That reduction brought a more than 60 percent decrease in use of drugs to combat those infections, and a 75 percent decrease in overall associated costs.
"The results suggest that the introduction of probiotic-based sanitation methods can be considered as a useful component of infection prevention strategies," said Rosanna Tarricone, a researcher at Bocconi University and study co-author, in a news release. "Money savings are only a part of the story, as HAIs affect 3.2 million people in Europe every year, resulting in 37,000 deaths."
For six months, the researchers scrubbed internal medicine departments at various hospitals. For the next six months, they switched to the new sanitation system that used ecologically sustainable detergents containing spores of three Bacillus species to clean those facilities.
After using the new sanitation system, the number of detected pathogens on those hospitals surfaces dropped by 83 percent. Also, the level antibiotic resistance to strains of Staphylococcus aureus fell by between 63.9 to 93.5 percent, depending on the antibiotic used.
This new sanitation system comes months after the reports of increases in infection risks after hip surgeries.
However, other studies say infections have fallen by as much as 16 percent in recent years.
"Taking into account other variables, such as the length of stay in hospital, our estimates of the savings are likely to be conservative," said Carla Rognoni, a researcher at Bocconi University and study co-author.