Biological Indicators

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A biological indicator is a device used to monitor the sterilization process for the standard population of bacterial spores. The biological indicators indicate that all the parameters necessary for sterilization were present. They are clear filter strips impregnated with bacterial spores and subjected to sterilization methods. They are tested for remaining presence of bacteria. The absence of bacteria in the final samples validates the method and determines sterilization accuracy levels. They are usually imbedded with bacteria that tend to be challenged by the sterilization process. In simpler terms, they are impregnated with bacteria spores that are difficult to kill. This indicates that all other bacteria present were also given the same treatment.

Great care is taken to minimize the chance of false positive readings which can cause expensive re-testing. Many government agencies from the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) to the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AMI) set standards for these biological indicators so that the medical profession can be sure their instruments are bacteria free and therefore safe to use. They ensure users of medical tools will not cause the death of patients while performing simple procedures.

The use of heat and fire dates all the way back to 1450 B.C. in the first pages of Leviticus, where god tells Moses to wash and burn the meat of animal sacrifices. It is said that ancient Greeks, would not wear wearing dirty clothes that touched open wounds because it could cause infection. They used fumes and burning chemicals for deodorizing and disinfecting purposes. In 460 A.D. to 377 B.C. Hippocrates of Con first separated philosophy and medicine, suggesting disease was not a punishment...

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References (2010). A Brief History of Sterilization. Retrieved from on March 27,2012. (2012). Demand Media Inc. How does an Autoclave work?. Retrived from on March 27,2012. (2012). Demand Media Inc. Autoclave History. Retrieved from on March 27,2012.

Infection Control Today (2004). Steam Sterilization cycle in healthcare facilities: What to Use and When to Use it. Retrived from on March 27, 2010.

Statens Serum Institut (2012). Biological Indicators for Steam Sterilization. Retrieved from on March 27, 2012.
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