Infection control is an essential component of health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. Infection control measures can be as easy as washing hands and as complicated as high-level disinfection of surgical instruments in a healthcare setting. Implementing infection control measures can prevent transmission of diseases in healthcare settings and the community. Sterilization is a component of the infection control procedure. It is a process to remove or destroy infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses from materials or surfaces. All reusable items that come in contact with the patient’s blood, saliva, or mucous membranes must be sterilized to prevent infection.
To ensure minimal instrument damage during sterilization, microorganisms are killed by oxidation, disruption of cell membranes, interruption of DNA synthesis, and interference with protein synthesis. To sterilize an instrument three definite stages: pre-sterilization cleaning, sterilization process, and aseptic storage need to be completed. Pre-sterilization cleaning is removal of organic matter, blood, and saliva using cleaning methods, such as mechanical washing, manual cleaning, and ultrasonic cleaning.
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Sterilization can be classified as physical and chemical sterilization. Physical sterilization includes the use of heat (dry or moist), sunlight, gas, filtration, ultrasonic cleaning, and radiation. Chemical sterilization includes the use of oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, benzoyol peroxide, phenol derivatives such as phenol, cresol, and chloroxylenol, aldehydes such as formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, alcohols, quaternary ammonium compounds, metallic salts, biguanide, dyes, furan derivatives, and halogens. Aseptic storage is maintenance of sterility during transportation and storage, and instruments are kept wrapped with perforated instrument cassettes, peel pouches of plastic or paper, until ready for use. Sterilization is used in microbiology laboratories, diagnostic and surgical procedures, and drug and food manufacturing to ensure safety from contaminating organisms.
North America dominates the global market for sterilization technologies due to rise in number of hospital acquired infections and increasing geriatric population in the region. Asia is expected to experience high growth rate over the next five years in the global sterilization technologies market. China and India are projected to be the fastest growing markets in the region. The key driving forces for the sterilization technologies market in developing countries are the large pool of patients, increasing awareness about diseases, rising prevalence of infectious diseases, improving healthcare infrastructure, and rising number of surgeries.
Rise in number of hospital acquired infections, increasing geriatric population, rising number of surgeries, increasing prevalence of various diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis, increase in healthcare expenditure, increasing demand of sterilization in various industries such as the food industry are some of the key factors driving the growth of the global sterilization technologies market. However, complex regulatory frameworks, shifting trend towards utilization of disposable medical devices, high cost of sterilization equipments, and economic slowdown are major restraints for the growth of the global sterilization technologies market.
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Technological advancements such as E-beam radiation and gamma sterilization are anticipated to create opportunities for the global sterilization technologies market. Contract sterilization service is a major trend in the global sterilization technologies market. Major companies operating in the global sterilization technologies market are
- Matachana Group
- Honeywell International Inc.
- Getinge Group
- 3M Company
- Belimed AG
- CISA Group
- Advanced Sterilization Products
- Synergy Health
- Sterigenics International LLC
- STERIS Corporation.