What is a Spore Strip Test Kit?
A sterilizer monitoring spore strip is a biological sterility indicator that contains Bacillus atrophaeus and Geobacillus stearothermophilus. Biological indicators directly determine whether the most resistant microorganisms (e.g., Geobacillus or Bacillus species) are present. Because the spores used in spore strips are more resistant and present in greater numbers than are the common microbial contaminants found on patient care equipment, an inactivated strip helps indicate that other potential pathogens in the load have also likely been eliminated.
How Often Should Spore Testing Be Performed?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sterilizer and autoclave function should be verified weekly, with the use of biological indicators (although this can vary by state). Please follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding placement of the biological indicator within your sterilizer or autoclave. The CDC also recommends testing when a new type of packaging material is used, after training new sterilization personnel, after a sterilizer has been repaired, and after any change in your sterilizer loading procedures.
What Happens During the Testing Process?
Your spore strip test kits will arrive pre-labeled and pre-numbered, so that you will always know how many test kits you have left. Store test packets in a cool dry place, away from light, chemicals, and sterilants.
Remove the spore strip test strip(s) from the test kit pocket(s) and place them in your sterilizer or autoclave according to manufacturer instructions (do not open the control strip). Sterilize according to normal procedures, and at the completion of the cycle, remove the spore strip(s) and place them back in their corresponding pockets in the test packet. If using a two-strip kit, be sure to
indicate where each specific spore strip was used.
Fill in all the testing parameters on the test packet, seal the pockets, and send the entire kit back to us in the return envelope provided.
Upon receiving your spore strip test kit, our laboratory technicians will set the test strip(s) AND the control strip in a Tryptic Soy Broth media. The strips are then incubated at a specific temperature that correlates directly to what kind of sterilizer you are using. A laboratory technician then checks the media DAILY, for a full seven day incubation period. The control strip should yield positive results for bacterial growth, and the test strip should be negative. If after seven days, your test strip has not indicated any bacterial growth, you will receive a laboratory report stating that your test was negative.
In the event of a confirmed positive test, our laboratory technician will phone your office immediately to notify you. This will be followed by a written report indicating that bacteria was detected in your test kit. In the event of a positive test, the CDC recommends repeating the test to rule out operator error, then temporarily removing the sterilizer from service.
If the repeat test is negative, the sterilizer can return to service. In the event of a positive repeat test, the sterilizer should be inspected and repaired if necessary. Please see our troubleshooting guide for further information, or visit the Centers for Disease Control website for assistance.