Point of Use Filters for Waterborne Pathogen Removal

Totaro M, Valentini P, Casini B, Miccoli M, Costa AL, Baggiani A. Experimental comparison of point-of-use filters for drinking water ultrafiltration. J Hosp Infect. 2016 Dec 1. pii: S0195-6701(16)30543-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2016.11.017.

BACKGROUND: Waterborne pathogens such as Pseudomonas spp. and Legionella spp. may persist in hospital water networks despite chemical disinfection. Point-of-use filtration represents a physical control measure that can be applied in high-risk areas to contain the exposure to such pathogens. New technologies have enabled an extension of filters’ lifetimes and have made available faucet hollow-fibre filters for water ultrafiltration.

AIM: To compare point-of-use filters applied to cold water within their period of validity.

METHODS: Faucet hollow-fibre filters (filter A), shower hollow-fibre filters (filter B) and faucet membrane filters (filter C) were contaminated in two different sets of tests with standard bacterial strains (Pseudomonas aeruginosa DSM 939 and Brevundimonas diminuta ATCC 19146) and installed at points-of-use. Every day, from each faucet, 100 L of water was flushed. Before and after flushing, 250 mL of water was collected and analysed for microbiology.

FINDINGS: There was a high capacity of microbial retention from filter C; filter B released only low Brevundimonas spp. counts; filter A showed poor retention of both micro-organisms.

CONCLUSION: Hollow-fibre filters did not show good micro-organism retention. All point-of-use filters require an appropriate maintenance of structural parameters to ensure their efficiency.

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