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Efficacy of soap and water and alcohol-based hand-rub preparations against live H1N1 influenza virus on the hands of human volunteers

Although pandemic and avian influenza are known to be transmitted via human hands, there are minimal data regarding the effectiveness of routine hand hygiene protocols against pandemic and avian influenza. Twenty vaccinated, antibody-positive healthcare workers had their hands contaminated with 1 mL of tissue culture infectious dose and 1 mL live human influenza A virus before undertaking 1 of 5 hand hygiene protocols. H1N1 concentrations were assessed before and after each intervention by viral culture and real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The natural viability of H1N1 on hands for >60 min without hand hygiene was also assessed. The results led the investigators to conclude that hand hygiene with soap and water (SW) or alcohol-based hand rub is highly effective in reducing influenza A virus on human hands, although SW is the most effective intervention. Appropriate hand hygiene may be an important public health initiative to reduce pandemic and avian influenza transmission. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;48(3):285-91.

Author: Grayson ML, Melvani S, Druce J, et al

Published: 01/01/2009

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Clinical Infectious Diseases