Biocidal textiles can help fight nosocomial infections

Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(5):990-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.08.025. Epub 2007 Oct 23.


The rates of nosocomial infections, especially by those caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, are increasing alarmingly over the globe. Although more rigorous infection control measures are being implemented, it is clear that the current modalities to reduce nosocomial infections are not sufficient. Textiles are an excellent substrate for bacterial growth under appropriate moisture and temperature conditions. Patients shed bacteria and contaminate their pyjamas and sheets. The temperature and humidity between the patients and the bed are appropriate conditions allowing for effective bacterial proliferation. Several studies have found that personnel in contact with contaminated textiles were the source of transmission of the micro-organisms to susceptible patients. Furthermore, it has been reported that bed making in hospitals releases large quantities of micro-organisms into the air, which contaminate the immediate and non-immediate surroundings. Contaminated textiles in hospitals can thus be an important source of microbes contributing to endogenous, indirect-contact, and aerosol transmission of nosocomial related pathogens. We hypothesize that the use of antimicrobial textiles, especially in those textiles that are in close contact with the patients, may significantly reduce bioburden in clinical settings and consequently reduce the risk of nosocomial infections. These textiles should possess broad spectrum biocidal properties. They should be safe for use and highly effective against antibiotic resistant micro-organisms, including those that are commonly involved in hospital-acquired infections, and they should not permit the development of resistant micro-organisms to the active compound.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Clothing
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disinfectants / chemistry*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infection Control*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Risk
  • Temperature
  • Textiles*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Disinfectants