Association News

Proposed Standard will help combat Clostridium difficile spores.

Press Release Summary:

Jun 25, 2013 - ASTM WK31504, Test Method for Producing High Titers of Viable and Semi-Purified Spores of Clostridium difficile using a Liquid Medium, is currently being developed. Proposed standard will describe production and semipurification of Clostridium difficile spores (endospores) when testing environmental surface disinfectants used to combat C. difficile. Liquid medium described therein will enable proper testing of disinfectants for ability to deal with C. difficile in environment.

ASTM International - West Conshohocken, PA

Original Press Release

Proposed New Antimicrobial Standard Will Be Used to Combat Clostridium Difficile Spores

Press release date: Jun 18, 2013

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.—A proposed new ASTM International standard will describe the production and semipurification of Clostridium difficile spores, known as endospores, when testing environmental surface disinfectants that are used to combat C. difficile.

ASTM WK31504, Test Method for Producing High Titers of Viable and Semi-Purified Spores of Clostridium difficile Using a Liquid Medium, is being developed by Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents, part of ASTM International Committee E35 on Pesticides, Antimicrobials, and Alternative Control Agents. The liquid medium described in ASTM WK31504 will make it possible to properly test disinfectants for a higher confidence in their ability to deal with C. difficile in the environment, leading to safer healthcare facilities.

C. difficile has emerged as a significant healthcare-associated pathogen over the past two decades. Elderly people on antibiotic treatments can be at high risk of acquiring a potentially fatal infection because powerful antibiotics that upset the balance of gut flora in the body make it easier for C. difficile to take effect. The most prominent clinical outcome of this is severe and frequent episodes of diarrhea, which can lead to contamination of the healthcare environment, where environmentally-stable and disinfectant-resistant spores can survive and spread to cause more cases of infection.

“While C. difficile is not a new pathogen, it has acquired much greater significance due to the increasing number of vulnerable individuals in our communities,” says Syed Satter, Ph.D., professor emeritus, microbiology, and director, Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology at the University of Ottawa. “Other contributing factors may be genetic changes in the pathogen contributing to greater virulence, widening antibiotic use and increasing life expectancy.”

Sattar notes that up until a few years ago, several environmental surface disinfectants had label claims of activity against C. difficile. However, these claims were based on testing against the vegetative form of the organism, which is easier to kill than the spores. This discovery led to a guidance document issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiring that any new labels claims against C. difficile be based on testing with spores.

All interested parties are invited to become involved in the standards developing activities of E35.

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit www.astm.org/JOIN.

ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions.

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ASTM Committee E35 Next Meeting: Oct. 21-24, 2013, October Committee Week, Jacksonville, Fla.

Technical Contact: Syed Satter, Ph.D., Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology (CREM), Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Phone: 613-562-5800, ext. 8314; ssattar@uottawa.ca

ASTM Staff Contact: Jennifer Rodgers, Phone: 610-832-9694; jrodgers@astm.org

ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603; bschindl@astm.org