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Acta Paediatr. 2014 Oct;103(10):1053-6. doi: 10.1111/apa.12731. Epub 2014 Jul 29.

Hand hygiene with alcohol hand rub and gloves reduces the incidence of late onset sepsis in preterm neonates.

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Department of Neonatology, Thomayer Hospital Prague, Prague, Czech Republic; Institute of Pathological Physiology, First Medical Faculty, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic.



To assess the impact of a hand hygiene protocol, using hand washing, alcohol hand rub and gloves when caring for preterm infants born after 31 weeks of gestation, on the incidence of neonatal late onset sepsis (LOS).


All babies delivered between 32 + 0 and 36 + 6 weeks gestation and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit during a 14-month period were included. We followed a hand hygiene protocol with hand washing and alcohol hand rub (hand rub period) for the first 7 months and a protocol of hand washing, alcohol hand rub and gloves (gloves period) for the second 7 months. The hand rub and gloves groups consisted of 111 and 89 patients, respectively.


Five patients were diagnosed with a total of six episodes of LOS in the hand rub group, and the incidence of LOS during the hand rub period was 2.99/1000 hospital days and 54.1/1000 admissions. There were no patients diagnosed with LOS during the gloves period (significant decrease, p = 0.028).


Using a hand hygiene protocol with hand washing, hand rub and gloves significantly reduced the incidence of LOS in preterm newborns, and the results suggest that it may produce a sustained improvement in the infection rate.


Gloves; Hand hygiene; Infection rates; Late onset sepsis; Preterm infants

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