CASE STUDY: Why These Veterinarians Fear Fomites
Courtesy of Kaivac
One word veterinarians never want to here is “formites.”
Fomites are inanimate objects. These inanimate objects can be a dish, a pencil, and in a veterinary facility, a lab coat, a stethoscope, and very often, a floor mop. What makes them such a concern is that when these inanimate objects become contaminated with infectious agents, they can transfer disease from one place to another.
At the New Jersey Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), over 600 kittens have been sheltered in 2019. Along with the kittens, hundreds of dogs and other animals, including possums and skunks, have found a temporary home. Along with these services, this SPCA is also one of the primary providers of veterinary services for pet owners in the area. Hundreds of animals are brought there every year for treatment. This all makes cleanliness very important throughout the 16,000-square-foot facility, says Kathy Miles, animal care manager at the shelter.
"From the shelter areas and meet-and-greet rooms to the veterinary clinic, we do our best to prevent the spread of disease via fomites,” says Miles.
One of the ways the clinic has prevented disease spread via formites is by ending the use of traditional cleaning tools – inanimate objects – that can become contaminated with use. At the top of the list of contaminated items were mops and buckets.
A March 2019 study published in Infection Control Today, concluded that mops, along with mop buckets, are "common culprits" when it comes to spreading disease in all types of facilities, including veterinary and medical facilities.
To address this fomite issue, Miles says the SPCA switched from mops and buckets to a Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning system. No mops are used in the cleaning process. Instead, an automatically diluted cleaning solution is applied to floors, walls, counters, and other surfaces. And, specifically at this SPCA, they also use it to clean the plastic crates in which animals are transported.
The same areas are then pressure-cleaned with fresh water. The final step in the process is vacuuming up all moisture as well as soils and pathogens.
"The whole process is simple, quick, and the machine is very easy to operate," says Miles. "Our staff started using [the machine] as soon as it arrived.
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