Health experts keep on saying that it is extremely important to prevent spreading of germs in healthcare settings to keep hospital “superbugs” at bay. However, it seems that hospital authorities don’t pay enough attention to this aspect. According to a new report, people responsible for taking care of hospitals surprisingly don’t have enough knowledge about the right methods of cleaning patients’ rooms.

The researchers putting the report together said that to date very few researches have addressed the most effective ways of disinfecting and sanitizing hard surfaces in hospital rooms.

The leader of the research team Dr. Craig Umscheid said that he and his colleagues found that although there are some studies that can guide actions, the number is much lower than what one would expect for such a big issue. Dr. Umscheid teaches epidemiology and medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, a division of the University of Pennsylvania.

Statistics presented by the US Department of Health & Human Services suggest that around 1 in every 25 patients admitted to hospitals develop infections as a result of their hospital stay. The new report has also informed that the year 2011 saw as many as 721,000 healthcare related infections, which resulted in around 75,000 deaths.

Hand washing gets a lot of attention as a way of preventing germs from spreading. Dr. Umscheid said that disinfecting hard surfaces in hospital suites and examination rooms is actually as important as washing hands. There are several dangerous germs that spread through touching counters, tray tables, IV pulls, floors, bed rails, light switches, toilets, and at times even through call buttons.

According to the report, most experts feel that usually just 50% of surfaces get disinfected when a hospital room is cleaned.

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To put together this report, researchers had to review a total of 80 studies published between the years 1998 and 2014. They came to know that to date just 5 controlled randomized trials have explored the best ways of disinfecting surfaces.

The majority of them were before-after studies i.e. researchers conducting those studies tested surfaces for germs before and after cleaning them using a particular product. The researchers also noted that less than 35% of these studies had their focus on issues such as spreading of disease due to unclean surfaces and infection rates.