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Can Vet J. 2006 Jul;47(7):671-6.

Pilot study to evaluate 3 hygiene protocols on the reduction of bacterial load on the hands of veterinary staff performing routine equine physical examinations.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 300 W. Drake Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


Reduction factors (RFs) for bacterial counts on examiners' hands were compared when performing a standardized equine physical examination, followed by the use of one of 3 hand-hygiene protocols (washing with soap, ethanol gel application, and chlorohexidine-ethanol application). The mean RFs were 1.29 log10 and 1.44 log10 at 2 study sites for the alcohol-gel (62% ethyl alcohol active ingredient) protocols and 1.47 log10 and 1.94 log10 at 2 study sites for the chlorhexidine-alcohol (61% ethyl alcohol plus 1% chlorhexidine active ingredients) protocols, respectively. The RFs were significantly different (P < 0.0001) between the hand-washing group and the other 2 treatment groups (the alcohol-gel and the chlorhexidine-alcohol lotion). The use of alcohol-based gels or chlorhexidine-alcohol hand hygiene protocols must still be proven effective in equine practice settings, but in this study, these protocols were equivalent or superior to hand washing for reduction in bacterial load on the hands of people after they perform routine physical examinations.

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