Automated Endoscope Reprocessor (AER)
An endoscope is a tube-like medical instrument used to examine the interior surfaces of the body. According to CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), an endoscope is generally subjected to high-level disinfection using a liquid chemical sterilant or a high-level disinfectant. The optimal rinse fluid for this device would be sterile water; however, sterile water is expensive and difficult to produce in sufficient quantities. If sterile water is not feasible, water that has been passed through filters with a pore size of 0.1 – 0.2 microns would also be optimal as a rinse fluid for this device (1).
Water has been linked to the contamination of endoscopes through two scenarios:
Rinsing a disinfected endoscope with unfiltered tap water, followed by storage of the instrument without drying out the internal channels (1)
Contamination of the instrument from tap water inadvertently introduced into the equipment (1)
In order to avoid contamination, it is important to properly clean and disinfect these tools with sterile or filtered water, let them dry completely, and avoid further contact with unfiltered, untreated tap water.
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Dental Units Connected to Water Lines
Photo of dental wash basin with faucet
According to CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), the water lines that feed many dental units deliver water during general. Municipal tap water is usually the source for these lines. CDC recommends that all dental instruments that use water should be run to discharge water for 20-30 seconds after each patient and for several minutes before the start of each clinic day. This practice will help to flush out any patient materials that may have entered the waterlines (1).