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 New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>