Dr. Catherine Whapham, Author at Harper Water

Dr. Catherine Whapham

Environmental CRO Contamination in New Hospital Buildings – What to do about the waste water interface?

How long does it take for multi-drug resistant organisms to take up residence within environmental reservoirs and niches of newly built healthcare facilities?  Sadly this may be before building handover, or relatively shortly after first patient occupation.  The origin and timings of such environmental colonisation is not clear cut, however, there have been a number […]

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Investigating Drain-Life

Multiple studies have identified that handwash basin, sink and shower drains and ubends play a role in the transmission of healthcare-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections, particularly those caused by Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli.  The niche environment of healthcare drains and ubends supports biofilm formation and populations, enabling ease of microbial genetic exchange.  Where multi-drug

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Water Sources Highlight A Patient Care Gap

Clinical handwash basins, healthcare sinks and showers along with their u-bends and wastewater drains are not addressed as infection sources.  The plethora of recently published waterborne infection data has not been translated into meaningful improvements in patient or environmental surveillance, remediation within Water Safety Groups, nor have training materials to essential supporting services, including Plumbers

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Recognising Hazards & Seeing Risks

Sinkevitch and co-workers from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have recently reported on the investigation into three cases of Mycobacterium abscessus colonisation and/or infection in ventilator dependent paediatrics at a residential facility.  Mycobacterium abscessus is one of the Non-Tuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) species responsible for severe respiratory, skin and mucosal infections, and

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Think Pink – Serratia marcescens strikes again

Occasionally a paper pops up which raises a red flag of concern – or in this case pink.  Serratia marcescens belongs to the Enterobacteriacae family and is a common water dweller.  There have been reports of hospital-acquired infection and outbreak, including multi-drug-resistant epidemic events, in immunocompromised, critically ill patients, those undergoing haemodialysis and those in

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Continuous Risk Recognition from Drinking Water Sources

Recent publications have supported recognition of risk relevant to in-premise water services, and this month our attention has been captured by three American publications. Firstly, Najjar-Debbiny et al. report a high prevalence (>40% of environmental samples positive) of Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae within 1 meter of any water source.  This data is highly relevant for Water Safety

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Derogate to Improve In-Premise Water Hygiene

The new NHS England publication on “Processes for Managing & Reporting Derogations from Estates Technical Standards & Guidance” (https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/processes-for-managing-and-reporting-derogations-from-estates-technical-standards-and-guidance/) is welcomed. The publication acknowledges the importance for healthcare facilities to be designed and constructed to the highest and most appropriate level in order to deliver clean, safe and secure environments.  In addition it sets out

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Is Bottled Drinking Water Quality Suitable for Patient Consumption?

The provision of bottled water for patient consumption and assessment of the microbial risk remains a blind spot for infection prevention teams and water safety groups.  Few consider that bottled water could be a source of Pseudomonas aeruginosa or other waterborne pathogens. There are times when bottled water could be safer and a logistically favourable

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Fungal Spores in Drinking Water – Aspergillus, Fusarium, Candida, Cryptococcus and others

The College of Environmental Science and Engineering at Tongii University, Shanghai (Zhao et al, 2022) have completed an important review and analysis of published literature on the presence of fungi in drinking water (Aspergillus, Fusarium, Candida, Cryptococcus andothers). The paucity of easy and reliable analysis methods, lack of regulation and limited control strategies has led

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