Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study: Soap and water work best in ridding hands of disease viruses

11.03.2005


The largest, most comprehensive study ever done comparing the effectiveness of hand hygiene products shows that nothing works better in getting rid of disease-causing viruses than simply washing one’s hands with good old-fashioned soap and water.



Among the viruses soapy hand washing flushes down the drain is the one that causes the common cold. Other removable viruses cause hepatitis A, acute gastroenteritis and a host of other illnesses.

A separate key finding was that waterless handwipes only removed roughly 50 percent of bacteria from volunteer subjects’ hands. "We studied the efficacy of 14 different hand hygiene agents in reducing bacteria and viruses from the hands," said Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett, a public health epidemiologist with the University of North Carolina Health Care System and the UNC School of Public Health. "No other studies have measured the effectiveness in removing both bacteria and viruses at the same time."


For the first time, too, the UNC researchers tested what happened when people cleaned their hands for only 10 seconds, Sickbert-Bennett said. That represented the average length of time researchers observed busy health-care personnel washing or otherwise disinfecting their hands at work. "Previous studies have had people clean their hands for 30 seconds or so, but that’s not what health-care workers usually do in practice, and we wanted to test the products under realistic conditions," she said.

Anti-microbial agents were best at reducing bacteria on hands, but waterless, alcohol-based agents had variable and sometimes poor effects, becoming less effective after multiple washes, Sickbert-Bennett said. For removing viruses from the hands, physical removal with soap and water was most effective since some viruses are hardy and relatively resistant to disinfection.

A report on the findings appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. Other authors are Drs. William A. Rutala and David J. Weber, professors of medicine and epidemiology at the UNC schools of medicine and public health; Dr. Mark D. Sobsey, professor of environmental sciences and engineering in public health; and medical technologist Maria F. Gergen-Teague. Dr. Gregory P. Samsa, a Duke University biostatistician, helped analyze the data.

"These findings are important because health-care associated infections rank in the top five causes of death, with an estimated 90,000 deaths each year in the United States," Rutala said. "Hand hygiene agents have been shown to reduce the incidence of health-care associated infections, and a variety of hand hygiene agents are now available with different active ingredients and application methods.

"Our study showed that the anti-microbial hand washing agents were significantly more effective in reducing bacteria than the alcohol-based handrubs and waterless handwipes," he said. "Our study also showed that, at a short exposure time of 10 seconds, all agents with the exception of handwipes demonstrated a 90 percent reduction of bacteria on the hands."

Alcohol-based handrubs were generally ineffective in demonstrating a significant reduction of a relatively resistant virus, Rutala said. While the use of alcohol-based handrubs will continue to be an important infection control measure, it is important to recommend or require traditional hand washing with soap and water throughout each day.

Researchers first had volunteers clean their hands and then contaminated their hands with Serratia marcescens and MS2 bacteriophage. Those are, respectively, a harmless bacterium and virus comparable to, and substituted for, disease-causing organisms. After that, scientists had the subjects clean their hands with various agents and measured how much of the bacteria and virus remained afterwards.

Sixty-two adults volunteered for and participated in the study. Investigators performed five evaluations on each of the 14 agents.

David Williamson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>