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JOACHIM OTTO HABEL - FILTRATION PROJECT MANAGER, JOHS. TANDRUP, DENMARK FACILITIES MANAGEMENT


Water-related RC in healthcare facilities


Waterborne secondary infections can be a fatal threat for immunosuppressed patients, such as COVID-19 patients. An important step in preventing these infections is to use point-of-use (POU) filters on water outlets. However, their performance can be compromised due to water-related retrograde contamination (RC). Here, Johs. Tandrup filtration project manager Joachim Otto Habel outlines how RC can be minimised in relation to POU filters.


In most deaths involving COVID-19, more pathogens than the virus alone were involved. Initial research found 44 per cent of COVID-19 patients had secondary healthcare-acquired infections (HAI).1 There are several transmission routes of HAI, one of them is waterborne, caused by pathogens growing in the water distribution system. A key measure against those pathogens is the installation of POU filters. POU filters are sterilising grade membrane filters with a pore size of 0.2 μm or smaller that have been tested and validated against a great bioburden of several millions of small test bacteria using a worldwide universal standard procedure, the ASTM F838-15a. POU filters are installed on tap, shower or other water outlets where water is intended to be, or accidently, consumed. Due to pore size, pathogens are retained from the water outlet and thereby are exposed to patients by simple size exclusion. Even when the membrane of POU


Point of use filter in use. Joachim Otto Habel


Joachim Otto Habel is filtration project manager at Johs. Tandrup, a Danish manufacturer of point-of-use filter and hygiene products. Joachim has eight years of experience in water


filtration technology and membrane materials. He holds a PhD in membrane technology and had a research stay in Twente


University, one of the key player universities within membrane technology. Since his study years, he has been enthusiastic about turning the huge volumes of water in an undesired state to a desired state, e.g. potable water. He has a proven scientific track record dealing with disciplines from membrane technology, filter technology, water treatment, biotechnology, nanotechnology, polymer chemistry and biochemistry and recently microbiology and hygiene management.


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filters is free of defects, their performance could be compromised. Patients located in areas with POU filters installed could still get infected with waterborne pathogens. Once the filtered, sterile water leaves the outlet, it almost immediately gets contaminated again. Siphons and sewage systems have billions of pathogen bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). If they find their way back to the POU filter outlets in droplets, aerosols or parts of colonized skin, neither 0.2 μm pores nor a ASTM F838-15a-certified sterilising grade membrane can protect the patient when waterborne pathogens grow behind their retention barrier. There are many kinds of retrograde


contamination (RC), defined as the contamination directed against the natural direction of a medium (air, blood, water, wastewater) in a system (water or air


IFHE DIGEST 2021


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