Principles of antisepsis, disinfection and sterilisation

This study aims to provide a brief review of the main concepts on which the prevention and control of infection are based. Antisepsis comprises a set of techniques aimed at the total sterilisation, or at most, disinfection, removing germs that contaminate an environment. Both procedures must be preceded by an environmental cleanup in the location in which they intend to be applied. The disinfection is carried out using biocides or germicides. Antimicrobial chemicals, that have mechanisms of action and resistances very similar to antibiotics, are generating concern due to the possibility of crossing genetic information that aggravates the problem of bacterial resistance. Most biocides can act as antiseptics, and applied to skin tissue, or disinfectants on inanimate materials. The spectrum of action of germicides depends on the product itself and external controllable factors: temperature, concentration, exposure time, etc. Sterilisation techniques are primarily physical, by exposing the material to steam, or sterilising gas, using autoclaves. Major advances are the use of low temperatures with shorter exposure times, in parallel with technological advances in instrumentation in order to avoid high temperatures and high use rotations due to workload.

Authors: Hernández-Navarrete MJ, Celorrio-Pascual JM, Lapresta Moros C, Solano Bernad VM. ;Full Source: Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica. 2014 Dec;32(10):681-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eimc.2014.04.003. Epub 2014 Jul 9. ;