Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eradication of Pinworm Eggs with Chlorine Dioxide

Pinworms are common contaminants of laboratory animal facilities. Pinworm infections can have adverse effects on behavior, growth, intestinal physiology, and immunology of experimental rodents, making effective pinworm surveillance and eradication important for many facilities. However, eradication of such infections is complicated by the ova’s ability to aerosolize and remain viable in the environment for lengthy periods. Pinworm eggs are microscopic and have been found on equipment, shelving, in dust, and in ventilation air intake ducts. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville performed a study on chlorine dioxide gas’ effect on pinworm eggs to see if it was a viable option for treating contaminated spaces.

Prior to this study, only ethylene oxide gas and dry heat had been proven to eliminate pinworm eggs.  Ethylene oxide is not used for space fumigation due to its carcinogenic and explosive properties, and it is very difficult to uniformly establish and maintain the high temperatures needed for dry heat (212° F held for 30 minutes) to be effective. In a controlled study, Syphacia spp. ova were affixed to a slide and exposed to a set concentration of chlorine dioxide gas for varying amounts of time. After being exposed to chlorine dioxide gas, the ova were placed in petri dishes, covered with a hatching medium, and incubated at 37° C for six hours. Positive control ova not exposed to chlorine dioxide gas were also processed and incubated.

The parameters to achieve a 6 log level kill of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores are normally 1 mg/L chlorine dioxide gas (360 parts per million or ppm) for 2 hours of exposure contact time.  This equates to a 720 ppm-hours (360 ppm x 2 hours) chlorine dioxide gas dosage.  It was found that a dosage twice as long (1440 ppm-hour) was needed in order to eliminate all viable ova from hatching. All ClO2 treatment times significantly decreased the hatching rates of the ova. Below is a table showing the results of the study: 

Exposure time
Chlorine DioxideGas Dosage
% of Syphacia, spp. ova hatched
Treated with CD Gas
Untreated(Positive Control)
1 hour
360 ppm-hour
14%
71%
2 hours
720 ppm-hour
12%
82.5%
3 hours
1080 ppm-hour
2%
80.5%
4 hours
1440 ppm-hour
0%
83%

To learn more about gaseous chlorine dioxide's effectiveness against pinworm eggs, visit Booth #1903 at this month's AALAS National Meeting or read the complete Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science article here.


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