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Handwash linked to cut in MRSA rate


5 December, 2008  

A direct correlation has been found between reductions in the rate of hospital MRSA infections and the amount of alcohol handwash supplied to a ward, according to research.

A study by University College London (UCL), in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Hand-Hygiene Liaison Group, found MRSA rates are cut by 1% with each extra millilitre of alcohol hand rub supplied per patient per day.

The findings, presented at this year’s Federation of Infection Societies conference in Cardiff, are the results of an independent evaluation of the cleanyourhands campaign to boost hygiene on hospital wards.

The campaign was co-ordinated by the National Patient Safety Agency and rolled out to all 187 acute NHS trusts in England and Wales from 2004.

Lead author of the evaluation, UCL’s Dr Sheldon Stone, said: “Our study shows that hand hygiene lowers hospital superbugs, and our message to healthcare workers is: ‘one ml….one percent’.

“The findings also serve as a reminder that we should be washing our hands in the home and workplace. Winter is the season when colds and flus abound, and people can protect themselves and stop germs from spreading by frequently washing their hands.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

University College London