Coliform Infections More Prevalent, Harder To Treat

Coliform infections are becoming more prevalent and harder to treat within UK hospitals. New data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) shows there has been a 35% increase in reports of E.coli blood infections over the last five years.

In the 103 hospital trusts surveyed covering more than 52,000 patients, a total of 3,360 patients (6.4%) had been diagnosed with a healthcare-associated infection. In a third of cases bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli – collectively known as coliforms – were found to be the cause.

Worryingly, in 12% of cases the strains were resistant to cephalosporins, the antibiotics normally used to treat these infections.

The findings have lead to calls from experts to make controlling hospital infections such as salmonella and E.coli a top priority.

Dr Susan Hopkins, an epidemiologist at The Royal Free Hospital in London and the report’s lead author comments “When you get rid of one bacteria another one will sneak into its place. We are seeing a slow but steady rise in E.coli.” She continues “It is clear that we need to find ways to control and prevent transmission of these bacteria and this is an important priority.”

Coliforms are a family of bacteria including E.coli that we all have in our gut and in most people they are harmless. However, in the frail, including the elderly, sick and very young, they can cause significant illness.

Infections can also occur in wounds, the urinary tract, lungs and the blood. Infection can be spread by contamination of equipment, such as catheters and as a result of poor environmental hygiene.

Prevention is key in reducing Coliform Infections with good surface hygiene playing a vital part. Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend using chlorine in preventing the spread of Coliform infections.

According to Dr Hopkins again “Everyone has [E.coli], so we can’t screen and get rid of it. We need to look at better hygiene to prevent infections.”


The SoChlor range of chlorine based environmental cleaning and hygiene products are effective against a wide spectrum of harmful bacteria including coliforms such as E.coli. SoChlor is available as soluble tablets and granules.

To help SoChlor users select the most appropriate product in the range for each application and to ensure it is used in accordance with WHO guidelines GV Health provide a full support programme including tools such as our SoChlor Crib sheet which details the correct dilution rate to deal with Coliform Infections including E.coli.

For more information about SoChlor please click here