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Decontamination of Reusable Medical Devices

Disinfection and Sterilization

Decontamination is a general term that includes cleaning, disinfection and sterilization.

Cleaning is important prior to disinfection or sterilization because the presence of organic matter can render the decontamination process ineffective. 

Medical devices are often classified into noncritical, semi-critical and critical. They should be processed with low level disinfection, high level disinfection and sterilization respectively.

Special type of cleaning and disinfection process is needed for endoscopes due to their complicated design. Outbreaks of resistant organisms have been associated with inadequately disinfected endoscopes.