Hepatitis C

Background: It is well known that strongly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW) has a potent bactericidal effect. We examined residual viruses on endoscopes that were used in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-positive and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive patients and evaluated the effectiveness of SAEW in cleaning/disinfecting the endoscopes.

Methods: A random sample of endoscopes used in 109 endoscopies on HBV-positive patients and 107 endoscopies on HCV-positive patients, who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for various reasons was taken to determine the degree of HBV and HCV contamination. Samples were taken using 10 mL of physiological saline injected through the forceps channel of each endoscope and collected at the distal end to be assayed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). After examination, each endoscope was treated with air aspiration, then 200 mL of tap water that contained an enzyme detergent was absorbed, and SAEW was aspirated after cleaning with a brush. After each procedure, PCR was used for comparison and to identify any residual viruses.

Results: In saline collected after air aspiration, viruses were detected in 39/109 endoscopes used in HBV patients and in 20/107 endoscopes used in HCV patients. In the saline aspirated with tap water containing an enzyme detergent, HBV was detected in 12/109 endoscopes and HCV was detected in 6/107 endoscopes. However, neither HBV nor HCV was detected after the endoscopes were cleaned manually with a brush and disinfected with SAEW.

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