An Evaluation of Common Cleaning Methods for the Removal of a Clinical Isolate of Escherichia coli in Personal Hydration System Water Reservoirs

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    Helmus S, Blythe J, Guevara P, Washington MA 16(2). 101 - 104 (Journal Article)

    Waterborne infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Personal hydration packs have been used by military personnel since the Gulf War and are now a common issue item. Since military personnel tend to operate under austere conditions and may use a variety of water sources, preventing the acquisition of waterborne infections is extremely important. Further, since hydration pack water reservoir replacements may not be available during combat operations, the development of a reliable cleaning protocol for use in the field is essential. Several methods for cleaning have been described. In the current study, three common cleaning methodologies-bleach treatment, baking soda treatment, and proprietary CAMELBAK Cleaning Tabs™-were evaluated for the ability to remove Escherichia coli contamination from hydration pack water reservoirs. The study results suggest that the use of bleach and proprietary CAMELBAK tablets should be encouraged since they both operate by releasing bactericidal chlorine compounds into solution, which is more effective at reducing post-treatment bacterial burden. It should be noted that no method was 100% effective at completely eliminating bacteria from the reservoirs and that mechanical cleaning was not attempted.

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