1 in 4 Healthcare Workers Carry Diarrhea Spores on Their Hands

Posted on January 08 2014

When entering a hospital setting, the risk of catching diarrhea is probably one of the last things on your mind. A new study published in the journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that 1 in 4 healthcare workers’ hands were contaminated with diarrhea spores (or C. difficile spores) following routine care on infected patients. The study also found that nursing assistants had the highest rates of hand contamination, with an alarming 42% contamination rate.   Even after wearing gloves and using alcohol based hand sanitizers to wash the hands, healthcare workers’ hands still tested positive for the virus. Due to the resistance and persistence of diarrhea spores to disinfection, Dr. Landelle explains that “glove use in not an absolute barrier against the contamination of health care workers’ hands. Effective hand hygiene should be performed, even in non-outbreak settings.”   As the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) points out, diarrhea is associated with 14,000 American deaths a year, which is further evidence pointing to the importance of washing the hands with soap and warm water after seeing each patient in order to further help prevent spreading the virus.   Source:


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