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Authors

  1. Muscarella, Lawrence F. PhD

Abstract

Recent attention has focused on the potential for the transmission of bacterial biofilms, Clostridium difficile, and other types of pathogenic spore-forming bacteria during gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. This study investigates whether GI endoscopy is a risk factor for the transmission of bacterial biofilms and the endospores or vegetative cells of pathogenic spore-forming bacteria including C. difficile. The medical literature was reviewed to evaluate the risk of the transmission of these infectious agents during GI endoscopy. No cases of a GI endoscope transmitting the endospores or vegetative cells of C. difficile or another type of pathogenic spore-forming bacterium were identified during this review. Also, no studies were identified during this review that document a case of infection causally linked to a bacterial biofilm that formed on the internal surfaces of and was transmitted by a GI endoscope that was reprocessed in accordance with currently accepted and well-established reprocessing standards. Gastrointestinal endoscopy is not reported to be a risk factor for the transmission of bacterial biofilms, C. difficile, or the endospores (and vegetative cells) of any other type of pathogenic spore-forming bacterium (or any type of infectious agent). Strict adherence to currently accepted and well-established reprocessing standards is necessary to prevent transmission of biofilms, C. difficile, and other infectious agents during GI endoscopy.