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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 Mar;37(3):610-3.

Comparative study on the antimicrobial effect of 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate and 70% isopropyl alcohol on the normal flora of hands.


A gloved-hand wash method was used to compare the antimicrobial effect of chlorhexidine gluconate alcohol emollient hand wash (HIBISTAT) with that of 70% isopropyl alcohol on the normal flora of the hands (81 subjects) under conditions designed to mimic use by surgeons. Results of the immediate postwash effects on the bacterial counts for all 3 tests days showed that chlorhexidine significantly reduced the normal flora of the hands. When compared with the base line bacterial counts, there was 85, 96, and 98% reduction with chlorhexidine treatment and 84, 93, and 90% reduction with alcohol treatment on days 1,2, and 5, respectively. The difference between chlorhexidine and alcohol treatments was not statistically significant on days 1 and 2, but was significant on day 5 (P less than 0.01). For delayed postwash bacterial counts (for persistent antimicrobial effects), the overall log means were 4.9943 and 5.4684 for chlorhexidine and alcohol treatments, respectively. The difference between the two treatments was significant (P less than 0.01). After the chlorhexidien treatment, there was no significant growth of bacteria over a period of 6 h when compared with the base line bacterial counts.

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