Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Infection control revisited: dilemma facing today's bronchoscopists.

British Medical Journal 1988; 297 doi: (Published 16 July 1988) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1988;297:185
  1. P. J. Hanson,
  2. D. J. Jeffries,
  3. J. C. Batten,
  4. J. V. Collins
  1. Brompton Hospital, London.


    The emergence of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome has provoked a widespread review of policies for infection control. Incomplete knowledge about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, and mycobacteria has until now been compensated for by adopting "overkill" precautions for patients who were thought to harbour these organisms. This policy is no longer tenable, given the difficulty in identifying infected patients. The control of infection in hospitals must instead be based on the routine use of high standards of hygiene that are adequate to contain all pathogens. Attempts by bronchoscopists to formulate such a policy have been frustrated by the lack of a suitable disinfectant and by ignorance of the susceptibility of microorganisms to cleaning and disinfection in a clinical environment.