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J Hosp Infect. 2003 May;54(1):63-7.

Evaluation of the bactericidal effect of five products for surgical hand disinfection according to prEN 12054 and prEN 12791.

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Cattedra di Citologia ed Istologia, Università di Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


Surgical hand disinfection (with an alcohol-based hand rub) and surgical handwash (with an antiseptic-based liquid soap) are accepted measures to reduce the risk for surgical site infections. The new European Standards allow a comparison of their antimicrobial efficacy. The bactericidal activity of surgical hand rubs [Sterillium and Softaman, (active ingredient=alcohols)] and handwashes [Derman plus (triclosan), Hibiscrub (chlorhexidine) and Betadine (PVP-iodine)] was tested according to the prEN 12054 suspension test using Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus hirae, and to prEN 12791 for the effect on resident skin flora in comparison with 1-propanol, 60% (v/v). All five products achieved a reduction of test bacteria within 3 min of >10(5)-fold so fulfilling prEN 12054. However, only Hibiscrub, Sterillium and Softa Man met the requirements of prEN 12791, giving a mean reduction of resident micro-organisms (immediate and sustained effect) which was not significantly lower than the reference alcohol (P>0.1; Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test). Sterillium was significantly more effective than the reference alcohol (immediate and sustained affect). Products for surgical hand disinfection may have equal antimicrobial activity in suspension tests but show large differences under practical conditions. Healthcare workers should not rely on results from suspension tests when deciding on a product for surgical hand disinfection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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