The effective spectrum of disinfectants
The Antimicrobial Spectrum of Disinfectants shows which pathogens the product can kill and how efficient it is in doing so. Medical products for disinfecting skin and hands, surfaces or medical instruments use various active ingredients such as aldehydes, alcohols, phenols, octenidine, chlorhexidine or ethylene oxide. Not all of these substances are equally effective against every type of pathogen - in some cases they are even completely ineffective.
The following pathogens will be rendered harmless by medical skin- or surf disinfectants:
- Bacteria & mycobacteria (e.g. tuberculosis)
- Viruses (enveloped and non-enveloped viruses)
The respective efficacy of a disinfectant can be read on the label and from the product description.
Das jeweilige Wirkspektrum eines Desinfektionsmittels lässt sich auf dem Etikett und aus der Produktbeschreibung ablesen.
Here is an overview of the terms for the individual modes of action that make up the spectrum of effect for disinfectants:
- Bactericidal: Bactericidal disinfectants will kill bacteria in a reliable manner. To be classified as bactericidal, a substance must eliminate at least 99 percent of all bacteria in the area of application within four hours. Most bactericidal medical disinfectants are effective against bacteria after only a few seconds.
- Tuberculoid: Tuberculosis pathogens are also bacteria or more precisely, mycobacteria. The mode of activity "tuberculocidal" is listed primarily for historical reasons, as Robert Koch's research on tuberculosis was critical in proving disease transmission by live microorganisms. Bactericidal disinfectants are often also tuberculocidal - manufacturers however refer to the fact that tuberculosis bacteria are also explicitly killed.
- Mycobactericidal: Another term used to emphasize efficacy against mycobacteria such as the tubercle bacillus. Mycobacteria are particularly resistant to antibiotics and disinfectants. In areas with an increased risk of contamination by mycobacteria, mycobactericidal disinfectants should therefore be used.
- Virucidal:A virucidal disinfectant is used specifically against viruses, whereby a difference being made between virucidal, limited virucidal and limited virucidal PLUS. Virucidal means that all viruses - enveloped and non-enveloped viruses - are killed. A limited virucidal product eliminates all enveloped viruses such as HIV, HBV or HCV. If the disinfectant is limited virucidal PLUS, the non-enveloped adenoviruses, noroviruses and rotaviruses are also eliminated in addition to enveloped ones.
- Fungicide: A fungicidal active ingredient kills fungi such as harmful moulds. However, most fungicidal disinfectants must also be sporicidal in order to kill the spores through which fungi multiply.
- Sporicidal:All spores of fungi and spore-forming bacteria (for example Clostridium difficile) are eliminated reliably.
- Levurocide:The specific activity against yeast fungi such as Candida albicans, glabrata or krusei is identified as levurocidal effect.
Effect of the reaction time on the spectrum of activity
JDepending on the substance and manufacturer, ready-to-use disinfectant solutions have different concentrations of the active substances they contain. This leads to different exposure times until the various pathogens are killed.
For example, the disinfectant gel sterillium® gel pure from Bode is effective against bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi and fungi within 15 seconds - however, a completely virucidal effect is only achieved after 60 seconds. So always follow the manufacturer's instructions for each individual product.
Generally, you receive better results with longer work times. For a full effect is imperative to completely cover all surfaces or skin areas to be disinfected. It must be noted that the disinfectant also reaches all recesses and bumps. For example, when disinfecting hands, it must be thoroughly massaged into all skin surfaces.