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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2004 Mar;25(3):262-4.

Ineffectiveness of handwashing with lotion soap to remove nosocomial bacterial pathogens persisting on fingertips: a major link in their intrahospital spread.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY 10029, USA.


The effectiveness of five 30-second handwashes with a non-antiseptic lotion soap to remove nosocomial pathogens (10(8) CFU) applied to fingertips was studied. CFU for all species dropped rapidly after the first handwash; persistence (10 to 15 CFU) was maintained thereafter. Wiping hands with an antiseptic (70% isopropyl or 10% povidone-iodine) sponge removed persisters.

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