Reducing viral contamination from finger pads: handwashing is more effective than alcohol-based hand disinfectants
A study in The Journal of Hospital Infection, “Reducing viral contamination from finger pads: handwashing is more effective than alcohol-based hand disinfectants,” concluded washing hands with soap and water is a better option than using alcohol-based disinfectants to remove noroviruses.
Researcher Erwin Duizer, PhD, head of Enteric Viruses Centre at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Control and National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in The Netherlands, spoke withMedicalResearch.com about the study, saying:
“Often, the use of alcohol-based hand hygiene products will contribute to reduced spread of many pathogens, including bacteria, enveloped viruses and rotavirus. However, many non-enveloped viruses such as noroviruses and enteroviruses, are quite resistant to alcohols and may require strict hand washing to prevent transmission.”
Hand hygiene is important for interrupting transmission of viruses through hands. Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand disinfectant has been shown for bacteria but their effectiveness in reducing transmission of viruses is ambiguous.
To test efficacy of alcohol hand disinfectant against human enteric and respiratory viruses and to compare efficacy of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant and handwashing with soap and water against norovirus.
Efficacies of a propanol and an ethanol-based hand disinfectant against human enteric and respiratory viruses were tested in carrier tests. Efficacy of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant and handwashing with soap and water against noroviruses GI.4, GII.4, and MNV1 were tested using finger pad tests.
The alcohol-based hand disinfectant reduced the infectivity of rotavirus and influenza A virus completely within 30s whereas poliovirus Sabin 1, adenovirus type 5, parechovirus 1, and MNV1 infectivity were reduced <3log10 within 3min. MNV1 infectivity reduction by washing hands with soap and water for 30s (>3.0 ± 0.4log10) was significantly higher than treating hands with alcohol (2.8 ± 1.5log10). Washing with soap and water for 30s removed genomic copies of MNV1 (>5log10), noroviruses GI.4 (>6log10), and GII.4 (4log10) completely from all finger pads. Treating hands with propanol-based hand disinfectant showed little or no reduction to complete reduction with mean genomic copy reduction of noroviruses GI.4, GII.4, and MNV1 being >2.6, >3.3, and >1.2log10 polymerase chain reaction units respectively.
Washing hands with soap and water is better than using alcohol-based hand disinfectants in removing noroviruses from hands.
The complete study can be downloaded, at a cost of $ 31,50, by Googling :