|Description:||This 2014 image depicts Centers for Disease Control (CDC) laboratorian Mustafa Mazher holding up a disassembled needleless connector. Such CDC researchers study the formation of biofilms in needleless connector devices like the one shown here, and their impact on their use in the healthcare, and laboratory settings, where the maintenance of a sterile environment is of paramount importance. The presence of a biofilm can increase the risk of infections related to catheters placed into a patient's bloodstream.|
A biofilm is an assemblage of surface-associated microbial cells that is enclosed in an extracellular polymeric substance matrix. Clinical and public health microbiologists recognition that microbial biofilms are ubiquitous in nature has resulted in the study of a number of infectious disease processes from a biofilm perspective. Cystic fibrosis, native valve endocarditis, otitis media, periodontitis, and chronic prostatitis all appear to be caused by biofilm-associated microorganisms. A spectrum of indwelling medical devices or other devices used in the health-care environment have been shown to harbor biofilms, resulting in measurable rates of device-associated infections. See link below to an online EID Journal article on biofilms.