Healthcare associated infections may arise from many sources, including patient?s own skin flora and the clinical environment, and inflict a significant burden within the health service. Adequate and effective skin antisepsis and surface disinfection are therefore essential factors in infection control. Current EPIC guidelines recommend 2 % chlorhexidine (CHG) in 70 % isopropyl alcohol (IPA) for skin antisepsis however poor penetration has been reported. Eucalyptus oil (EO) is a known permeation enhancer, producing synergistic antimicrobial activity when combined with CHG. In this current study, the antimicrobial efficacy of EO and its main constituent 1,8-cineole were assessed against a panel of clinically relevant microorganisms, alone and in combination with CHG. The superior antimicrobial efficacy of EO compared with 1,8-cineole, and synergistic effects with CHG against planktonic and biofilm cultures, confirmed its suitability for use in subsequent studies within this thesis. Impregnation of EO, CHG and IPA onto prototype hard surface disinfectant wipes demonstrated significantly improved efficacy compared with CHG/IPA wipes, with clear reductions in the time required to eliminate biofilms. Optimisation of the EO/CHG/IPA formulation resulted in the development of Euclean® wipes, with simulated-use and time kill studies confirming their ability to remove microbial surface contamination, prevent cross contamination and eliminate biofilms within 10 minutes. The employment of isothermal calorimetry provided additional information on the type and rate of antimicrobial activity possessed by Euclean® wipes. A clinical audit of the Euclean® wipes at Birmingham Children?s Hospital, Birmingham, U.K. revealed divided staff opinion, with the highest cited advantage and disadvantage concerning the odour. Finally, skin penetration and cell toxicity studies of EO/CHG biopatches and Euclean® solution developed during this study, revealed no permeation into human skin following biopatch application, and no significant toxicity. These current studies enhance the knowledge regarding EO and its potential applications.
- Eucalyptus oil
- antimicrobial activity