Alcohol-Based Wipes Significantly More Effective than Rubs in Reducing Bacteria; Findings Could Impact Hospital-Acquired Infections
Special Pathogens Laboratory Study First to Test 2002 CDC Recommendations that Alcohol-Based Rubs More Effective
Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) December 23, 2010
Alcohol-based gels and hand rubs dominate the market for hand hygiene products, but that may start to change due to a new study conducted by Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL, http://www. specialpathogenslab. com) to determine which was more effective—wipes or rubs. Published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the SPL study shows that wipes-towelettes saturated with alcohol are more effective than popular alcohol-based hand rubs in reducing some germs on hands.
“Our study gives infection control professionals more information so they can make evidence-based decisions when evaluating hand sanitizer products,” says Janet E. Stout, PhD, director of SPL, and associate research professor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.
“With more effective hand hygiene products, we stand a better chance in reducing hospital-acquired infections that result in 90,000 patient deaths and $4.5 billion in medical expenses annually,” says Dr. Stout.
Dr. Stout, who along with her colleagues at SPL and the University of Pittsburgh, Natalie N. D'Antonio, MS; John D Rihs, BS; and Victor L. Yu, MD, conducted and coauthored the study which measured the effectiveness of an ethanol wipe (PDI Sani-Hands® ALC Antimicrobial Alcohol Gel Hand Wipes) against an ethanol rub (Purell®) in eliminating bacteria.
After inoculating subjects’ hands with bacteria, the researchers disinfected them with a wipe of 65.9% ethanol alcohol or rub containing 62% ethanol alcohol, and then tested for the presence of bacteria. The results showed the wipe “was significantly more effective” than the rub in reducing the number of viable bacteria on the hands.
While the study’s main aim was to compare wipes and rubs, Dr. Stout and her team also compared the two products to antibacterial soap (Kindest Kare®). The soap proved more effective in reducing bacteria than either the wipe or rub. One important point: soap requires water-usually through a sink-but the wipe and rub does not require water.
Eight years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines stating that alcohol-based hand wipes weren’t as effective as alcohol-based hand rubs, this study shows that with the higher alcohol content, wipes were more effective than rubs.
Special Pathogens Laboratory
Special Pathogens Laboratory® (SPL®), The Legionella Experts®, is the national leading analytical microbiology laboratory offering the healthcare industry, water treatment industry, and commercial and industrial sectors reliable, high-quality microbiology services. SPL®, an accredited laboratory and ELITE certified by CDC for expertise in Legionella testing, specializes in the detection, control, and disinfection of Legionella, and other microorganisms responsible for serious infections, including thousands of hospital-acquired infections annually. For more information about SPL, please visit http://www. SpecialPathogensLab. com.