New PICNet recommendations for cleaning and disinfection in medical ultrasound to prevent human papillomavirus transmission

New recommendations have been received from the Ministry of Health in response to recently published studies indicating that human papillomavirus (HPV) has become strongly resistant to the chemical disinfectants traditionally used for the reprocessing of ultrasound probes.

Community-based physicians using ultrasound probes that come into contact with mucosal membranes, and those used for needle guidance in an aseptic field, are required to implement the Provincial Infection Control Network of BC’s (PICNet) Recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection in Medical Ultrasound to Prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Transmission, which include using an oxidizing-based high-level disinfectant with label claims for non-enveloped viruses.  

In June 2016, the College and regional health authorities received a communique from the Ministry of Health directing that the new recommendations be implemented in all health-care settings. In preparation for the College’s notification to community-based physicians, clarification was sought from the ministry regarding some aspects of the directive including implementation timelines and other medical devices potentially at risk for the transmission of HPV. 

The ministry has directed that PICNet’s recommendations must be implemented as soon as possible and no later than July 31, 2018. The ministry has also confirmed that PICNet’s recommendations do not include colonoscopes and other reusable medical devices at this time.   

To help physicians implement the recommendations in their practice, the College has published Reprocessing Requirements for Ultrasound Probes, which can be found here

Questions regarding the ministry’s requirement to implement the PICNet recommendations can be directed to the following College programs:

  • Physician Office Medical Device Reprocessing Assessments (POMDRA)
  • Diagnostic Accreditation Program (DAP)
  • Non-Hospital Medical and Surgical Facilities Program (NHMSFP)

More information on the PICNet’s recommendation can be found here.