New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline

Drs. William A. Rutala and David J. Weber authored a new evidenced-based guideline entitled “Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008” that will be used worldwide as guidance on key issues on reprocessing medical and surgical instruments.

The last CDC guideline on disinfection and sterilization was published in 1985 and it was 6 pages with 7 references. This new guideline has considerable more information (over 150 pages with >1000 references) about the chemical disinfectants and the sterilization processes used in healthcare.   

There are a number of sections that should aid healthcare professionals such as: reprocessing of endoscopes and other semicritical items (e.g., endocavitary probes);   emerging pathogens; inactivation of bioterrorist agents; toxicological, environmental and occupational concerns; surface disinfection; bioburden on surgical devices; effects of cleaning on disinfection and sterilization efficacy; factors that affect the efficacy of disinfection and sterilization; sterilization practices (such as validation, physical facilities, cleaning, packaging, loading, storage, and monitoring); advantages and disadvantages of high-level disinfectants and sterilization methods used commonly in healthcare; and susceptibility of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to disinfectants.