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      Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis.

      American Journal of Public Health

      Surface-Active Agents, standards, methods, Skin Care, Risk Assessment, prevention & control, Respiratory Tract Infections, Intervention Studies, Humans, Hand Disinfection, Gastrointestinal Diseases, Databases, Bibliographic, Community-Acquired Infections, transmission, Communicable Diseases, Communicable Disease Control

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          Abstract

          To quantify the effect of hand-hygiene interventions on rates of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses and to identify interventions that provide the greatest efficacy, we searched 4 electronic databases for hand-hygiene trials published from January 1960 through May 2007 and conducted meta-analyses to generate pooled rate ratios across interventions (N=30 studies). Improvements in hand hygiene resulted in reductions in gastrointestinal illness of 31% (95% confidence intervals [CI]=19%, 42%) and reductions in respiratory illness of 21% (95% CI=5%, 34%). The most beneficial intervention was hand-hygiene education with use of nonantibacterial soap. Use of antibacterial soap showed little added benefit compared with use of nonantibacterial soap. Hand hygiene is clearly effective against gastrointestinal and, to a lesser extent, respiratory infections. Studies examining hygiene practices during respiratory illness and interventions targeting aerosol transmission are needed.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings: recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force.

          The Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings provides health-care workers (HCWs) with a review of data regarding handwashing and hand antisepsis in health-care settings. In addition, it provides specific recommendations to promote improved hand-hygiene practices and reduce transmission of pathogenic microorganisms to patients and personnel in health-care settings. This report reviews studies published since the 1985 CDC guideline (Garner JS, Favero MS. CDC guideline for handwashing and hospital environmental control, 1985. Infect Control 1986;7:231-43) and the 1995 APIC guideline (Larson EL, APIC Guidelines Committee. APIC guideline for handwashing and hand antisepsis in health care settings. Am J Infect Control 1995;23:251-69) were issued and provides an in-depth review of hand-hygiene practices of HCWs, levels of adherence of personnel to recommended handwashing practices, and factors adversely affecting adherence. New studies of the in vivo efficacy of alcohol-based hand rubs and the low incidence of dermatitis associated with their use are reviewed. Recent studies demonstrating the value of multidisciplinary hand-hygiene promotion programs and the potential role of alcohol-based hand rubs in improving hand-hygiene practices are summarized. Recommendations concerning related issues (e.g., the use of surgical hand antiseptics, hand lotions or creams, and wearing of artificial fingernails) are also included.
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            Effect of handwashing on child health: a randomised controlled trial.

            More than 3.5 million children aged less than 5 years die from diarrhoea and acute lower respiratory-tract infection every year. We undertook a randomised controlled trial to assess the effect of handwashing promotion with soap on the incidence of acute respiratory infection, impetigo, and diarrhoea. In adjoining squatter settlements in Karachi, Pakistan, we randomly assigned 25 neighbourhoods to handwashing promotion; 11 neighbourhoods (306 households) were randomised as controls. In neighbourhoods with handwashing promotion, 300 households each were assigned to antibacterial soap containing 1.2% triclocarban and to plain soap. Fieldworkers visited households weekly for 1 year to encourage handwashing by residents in soap households and to record symptoms in all households. Primary study outcomes were diarrhoea, impetigo, and acute respiratory-tract infections (ie, the number of new episodes of illness per person-weeks at risk). Pneumonia was defined according to the WHO clinical case definition. Analysis was by intention to treat. Children younger than 5 years in households that received plain soap and handwashing promotion had a 50% lower incidence of pneumonia than controls (95% CI (-65% to -34%). Also compared with controls, children younger than 15 years in households with plain soap had a 53% lower incidence of diarrhoea (-65% to -41%) and a 34% lower incidence of impetigo (-52% to -16%). Incidence of disease did not differ significantly between households given plain soap compared with those given antibacterial soap. Handwashing with soap prevents the two clinical syndromes that cause the largest number of childhood deaths globally-namely, diarrhoea and acute lower respiratory infections. Handwashing with daily bathing also prevents impetigo.
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              Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: a quantitative systematic review

              Summary Objective  To determine the effect of handwashing on the risk of respiratory infection. Methods  We searched PubMed, CAB Abstracts, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane library for articles published before June 2004 in all languages. We had searched reference lists of all primary and review articles. Studies were included in the review if they reported the impact of an intervention to promote hand cleansing on respiratory infections. Studies relating to hospital‐acquired infections, long‐term care facilities, immuno‐compromised and elderly people were excluded. We independently evaluated all studies, and inclusion decisions were reached by consensus. From a primary list of 410 articles, eight interventional studies met the eligibility criteria. Results  All eight eligible studies reported that handwashing lowered risks of respiratory infection, with risk reductions ranging from 6% to 44% [pooled value 24% (95% CI 6–40%)]. Pooling the results of only the seven homogenous studies gave a relative risk of 1.19 (95% CI 1.12%–1.26%), implying that hand cleansing can cut the risk of respiratory infection by 16% (95% CI 11–21%). Conclusions  Handwashing is associated with lowered respiratory infection. However, studies were of poor quality, none related to developing countries, and only one to severe disease. Rigorous trials of the impact of handwashing on acute respiratory tract infection morbidity and mortality are urgently needed, especially in developing countries.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.2105/AJPH.2007.124610
                2446461
                18556606

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