Research for infection protection
  • germs
  • Adenovirus
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Bovine virus diarrhea
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Candida albicans
  • Candida albicans
  • Coronavirus
  • Corynebacterium
  • Escherichia coli
  • Helicobacter pylori

Author: Kramer, A. / Rudolph, P. / Kampf, G. / Pittet, D. (2002) Source: Lancet 2002; 359: 1489-90

STUDY

Kramer, A. / Rudolph, P. / Kampf, G. / Pittet, D. (2002)

Limited efficacy of alcohol-based hand gels

Background: There are many gels available in healthcare facilities for the post-contamination treatment of hands. Their concentration of alcohol, however, is quite low. The aim of the study was to determine the bactericidal efficacy of ten alcohol-based hand gels and four alcohol-based rinses, including Sterillium, according to EN 1500 with 3 ml in 30 seconds which resembles current clinical practice.


Methods: Four rinses with alcohol concentrations mostly around 75 % and ten mostly ethanol-based hand gels were investigated. After a thorough handwash with non-medicated soap, hands were placed in a suspension of E. coli for five seconds, and allowed to air dry for 3 minutes afterwards. Pre-values were obtained from all fingertips. 3 ml of a hand gel or rub were applied for 30 seconds, or 2 x 3 ml of the reference alcohol were applied for 2 x 30 seconds (cross-over design).

After the treatment of the hands, fingertips were sampled once more. Pre-values and post-values were obtained by rubbing the finger tips for one minute in nutrient broth containing validated neutralizing agents followed by serial dilution. Aliquots were spread on tryptic soy agar. After incubation of the plates, the total colony counts were determined per subject and time point. All values were expressed on a log10 scale, the efficacy of gels and rinses was compared to the reference procedure.


Results: All ten hand gels were significantly less effective in comparison to the reference procedure (difference was between 0.7 and 2.0 log10 steps) and thus failed to meet the European efficacy requirements for hygienic hand disinfection. Sterillium and the other three hand rinses were not significantly less effective in comparison to the reference procedure and hence met the European efficacy requirements for hygienic hand disinfection.


Conclusions:  Most alcohol-based hand gels have a rather low concentration of alcohol (≤ 70 %) and fail to meet the European efficacy requirements according to EN 1500 when tested as commonly used. These products should not be used in hospitals. Alcohol-based liquid disinfectants such as Sterillium provide much better efficacy and therefore decrease the risk of cross-transmission and nosocomial infection.


Source:
Lancet 2002; 359: 1489-90


Please click here to purchase the original study.