Reports warning of threats from drug-resistant superbugs, virulent new types of influenza and novel coronavirus strains, not to mention the number of illnesses acquired while in the hospital, seem to grow ever more common.
John Hanlin, Ecolab vice president of Food Safety and Public Health, discusses how the company is helping to keep environments healthy through cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention.
Q. One of Ecolab’s four business platforms is healthy environments. What does it encompass?
A. It encompasses all that Ecolab does to help stop the transmission of pathogens that cause infections and make people sick:
Q. What products and services does Ecolab offer?
A. For hospitals and clinics, long-term care facilities, hotels, restaurants, schools, government and commercial facilities and cruise lines, Ecolab offers products and services that promote hand hygiene, including soaps, sanitizers and lotions, and environmental hygiene, including cleaners and disinfectants for hard surfaces and frequently touched objects such as door handles and handrails. By focusing on healthy environments, our customers have another tool to break the cycle of infection, thereby protecting patients, visitors, guests and staff.
For the special needs of hospitals and other healthcare organizations providing acute care, Ecolab also provides products and services for:
A. Bacteria, viruses and other illness-causing microorganisms are the culprits. These pathogens can spread from person to person through the air and via contact with hard surfaces and frequently touched objects, such as doorknobs. From our hands, germs can easily infect us when we touch our eyes, nose and mouth.
Q. What types of health threats do we encounter in public places?
A. Influenza and colds are very common, especially in the winter but they’re not the only infection risks. There are many others, and a number of them can be serious, including C. diff and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA. Both are associated with healthcare environments, but they, and others, can be acquired in community settings – public spaces other than hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Q. Is the threat of infection growing?
A. There’s increasing concern about the strong resistance some bacteria are developing to the antibiotics used to kill them. In the U.S., the CDC reported recently that each year at least two million Americans get sick from drug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” and that at least 23,000 die from these infections.
Q. What emerging threats is Ecolab watching?
A. Ecolab is paying special attention to four:
Q. What’s the next frontier in infection prevention and keeping environments safe?
A. Monitoring and reporting of proper surface cleaning and disinfection in healthcare settings – and monitoring hand hygiene. The opportunity for improvement is large, and healthcare facilities recognize that monitoring and reporting can have a positive impact on their efforts to continuously improve infection prevention. Our customers see the benefits of preventing outbreaks of infection and so processes and technologies that improve efficiency while ensuring effective cleaning and disinfection will also continue to be in high demand.
Learn More about Ecolab’s work to keep environments safe.
Alejandro González d’Hyver de las Deses
Communications Manager, Latin America
Phone: +52 (55) 5001 2935 or by email
Communications Manager, Brasil
Phone: +55 11 2134 2649 or by email
Communications Director, Latin America
Phone: +1 954 436 2668 or by email