Take Extra Precautions to Keep C. Diff Off Your Hands

Healthcare providers who treat patients colonized with Clostridium difficile may be carrying the spores on their hands even after wearing gloves and rubbing in alcohol-based hand sanitizers, according to French researchers.

For a study published in the January issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, they examined contamination rates on the hands of providers after routine care of C. diff patients in isolation. They found the spores on nearly one-fourth of the providers’ hands.  Contamination was found most often after such high-risk contact as washing patients, changing bed linens and performing colonoscopies. Those who experienced more high-risk contact and for longer durations – in the population studied, this was nursing assistants over nurses and physicians – were more likely to be contaminated.

“Because C. difficile spores are so resistant and persistent to disinfection, glove use is not an absolute barrier against the contamination of healthcare workers’ hands,” says lead author Caroline Landelle, PharmD, PhD. “Effective hand hygiene should be performed, even in non-outbreak settings.”

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America recommends routinely washing hands with soap and water, which it finds superior to alcohol-based hand rubs in which it finds superior to alcohol-based hand rubs in dominating the superbug, after caring for patients infected with C. diff.

Source: David Bernard- www.outpatientsurgery.net