Decontamination of a BSL3 laboratory by hydrogen peroxide fumigation using three different surrogates for Bacillus anthracis spores

Authors

  • O. Kaspari,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
    • Correspondence

      Oliver Kaspari, Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Nordufer 20, 13353 Berlin, Germany.

      E-mail: kaspario@rki.de

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  • K. Lemmer,

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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  • S. Becker,

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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  • P. Lochau,

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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  • S. Howaldt,

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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  • H. Nattermann,

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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  • R. Grunow

    1. Division Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
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Abstract

Aims

Two independent trials investigated the decontamination of a BSL3 laboratory using vaporous hydrogen peroxide and compared the effect on spores of Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus thuringiensis as surrogates for Bacillus anthracis spores, while spores of Geobacillus stearothermophilus served as control.

Methods and Results

Carriers containing 1·0 × 106 spores were placed at various locations within the laboratory before fumigation with hydrogen peroxide following a previously validated protocol. Afterwards, carriers were monitored by plating out samples on agar and observing enrichment in nutrient medium for up to 14 days. Three months later, the experiment was repeated and results were compared. On 98 of 102 carriers, no viable spores could be detected after decontamination, while the remaining four carriers exhibited growth of CFU only after enrichment for several days. Reduction factors between 4·0 and 6·0 log levels could be reached.

Conclusions

A validated decontamination of a laboratory with hydrogen peroxide represents an effective alternative to fumigation with formaldehyde. Spores of B. cereus seem to be more resistant than those of G. stearothermophilus.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The results of this study provide important results in the field of hydrogen peroxide decontamination when analysing the effect on spores other than those of G. stearothermophilus.

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