The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands.


Burton, M; Cobb, E; Donachie, P; Judah, G; Curtis, V; Schmidt, WP; (2011) The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands. International journal of environmental research and public health, 8 (1). pp. 97-104. ISSN 1661-7827 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8010097

[img]
Preview
Text - Published Version
License:

Download (199kB) | Preview

Abstract

Handwashing is thought to be effective for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoea pathogens. However it is not conclusive that handwashing with soap is more effective at reducing contamination with bacteria associated with diarrhoea than using water only. In this study 20 volunteers contaminated their hands deliberately by touching door handles and railings in public spaces. They were then allocated at random to (1) handwashing with water, (2) handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and (3) no handwashing. Each volunteer underwent this procedure 24 times, yielding 480 samples overall. Bacteria of potential faecal origin (mostly Enterococcus and Enterobacter spp.) were found after no handwashing in 44% of samples. Handwashing with water alone reduced the presence of bacteria to 23% (p < 0.001). Handwashing with plain soap and water reduced the presence of bacteria to 8% (comparison of both handwashing arms: p < 0.001). The effect did not appear to depend on the bacteria species. Handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and water is more effective for the removal of bacteria of potential faecal origin from hands than handwashing with water alone and should therefore be more useful for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoeal diseases.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 21318017
Web of Science ID: 286727100008
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1355

Statistics


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
695Downloads
1,096Hits
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months
Impact and interest
Additional statistics for this record are available via IRStats2

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item