Certain species of hospital bacterial are now becoming increasingly intolerant to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, as per a new study.

The study, published in the Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday, revealed that even though hospitals use hand washes and hand rubs which contain isopropyl or ethyl alcohol based disinfectants in order to avoid the patients from contracting several kinds of germs, a kind of bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staohylococcus aureus (MRSA) is growing to be intolerant and resistant to such disinfectants.

However, the researchers noticed that a rise in different species of bacteria that lives in our guts, known as Enterococcus faecium, can also spread across a hospital and cause several infections that can affect the skin, abdomen, blood and the urinary tract.

There has been an increase in the number of drug intolerant Enterococcus faecium infections despite of the use of alcohol-based sanitizers and in the present scenario, the bacteria is a leading cause of infections that patients acquire in hospitals.

One in every 10 hospital–acquired infections across the globe is due to an Enterococci bacterium, which also ranks as the 4th and the 5th leading cause of sepsis in North America and Europe.

To understand the reason behind the spread of this bacterium, the researchers examined the bacterial samples which were taken from 2 hospitals located in Melbourne from the year 1997 to 2015. The result of the bacteria samples gathered after the year 2009 showed to be more tolerant to alcohol than the samples which were taken before the year 2004.

Here, being intolerant means that the bacteria can live through an alcohol exposure for an extended time, which is enough for it to getting killed and cause an infection, said study author Tim Stinear of University of Melbourne. However, he added that the bacteria which was analysed in the study still had a long way to become fully resistant to alcohol.

Further research is still required to confirm whether these two bacteria are becoming resistant to the disinfectants in hospitals across the world.


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