Research Article| Volume 89, ISSUE 1, P2-15, January 2015

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Development of a sporicidal test method for Clostridium difficile

Published:October 24, 2014DOI:



      Disinfectants with claimed activity against Clostridium difficile must be evaluated to ensure efficacy against the spores that comprise an environmental source of patient infection. Unfortunately there is, at present, no generally accepted method for evaluating these disinfectants. In the absence of such a method, laboratories have to adapt protocols that were not designed for products used in medical environments and consequently may use inappropriate test organisms, exposure times, and pass criteria.


      To develop and evaluate a method for testing the activity of disinfectants against C. difficile spores using exposure times and pass criteria which are relevant to clinical application.


      A Joint Working Party of the Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) and the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (ARHAI) of the Department of Health in England was assembled. The Working Party adapted a previously described enzyme-based method for spore purification (the Clospore method) using an exposure time of 5min and a 5log10 kill as a pass criterion.


      Evaluation of the method by three laboratories demonstrated that the method is simple to follow and that the results are repeatable and reproducible.


      The method described by the Working Party produces a clean suspension with a high titre of spores. It is recommended that, for a disinfectant used in the environment, the product should demonstrate a 5log10 reduction in 5min under clean or dirty conditions to fulfil the requirements of the test.


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