Study assesses hand contamination of healthcare workers after disinfection procedures

Published on September 15, 2012 at 2:27 AM · No Comments

New research demonstrates that daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces in isolation rooms of patients with Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) significantly reduces the rate of the pathogens on the hands of healthcare personnel. The findings underscore the importance of environmental cleaning for reducing the spread of difficult to treat infections. The study is published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).

Researchers from the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center conducted a prospective, randomized trial comparing regular cleaning protocols of housekeeping staff with daily disinfection of high-touch surfaces performed by researchers (i.e., bed rail and bedside tables, call button and phone, and toilet seat, and bathroom hand rail) in 34 C. difficile and 36 MRSA isolation rooms. The study assessed hand contamination of physicians, nurses, and research staff six to eight hours after disinfection procedures. In rooms with daily disinfection, there were significant reductions in the amount and frequency of pathogens on the hands of investigators and healthcare personnel caring for the patients (6.4% with daily disinfection versus 30% with standard cleaning).

"These findings add to the growing body of evidence supporting environmental cleaning and disinfection as an important infection control strategy," said Sirisha Kundrapu, MD, a lead author of the study. "The intervention was simple, inexpensive, and well-accepted by patients and staff."

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