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The efficacy of surgical scrubs in reducing hand bacterial flora

Authors:

G. M. I. Dabare,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About G. M. I.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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D. M. B. T. Dissanayake,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About D. M. B. T.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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D. Weerasekera,

Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila, LK
About D.
University Surgical Unit
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R. Mahendra,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About R.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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N. Fernando

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About N.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Abstract

Objective The objective of our study was to compare the efficacy of five different surgical scrubbing agents (plain soap, antiseptic soap, 4% chlorhexidine, 7.5% povidone iodine and a commercial preparation of alcohol hand rub) in reducing the hand bacterial flora in two operation theatres in the Colombo South Teaching Hospital before and immediately after scrubbing.

Design A comparative study.

Setting Two operation theatres of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.

Participants Ten members of theatre staff who regularly operate or assist.

Methods Hand scrubbing with the respective agent/rubbing with alcohol by all participants on different days. On each occasion imprints of fingertips and palm of the dominant hand was taken immediately before and after hand hygiene procedure. The bacterial colony .counts were taken after overnight incubation. The mean percentage reduction of colony counts was taken as the efficacy indicator. Statistical analysis was done by paired t test.

Results Highest reduction of colony counts was by alcohol hand rub and it was significandy better than plain soap, antiseptic soap and povidone iodine (P<0.05). There was no significant difference between colony count reductions by plain soap and antiseptic soap. There was no significant difference between alcohol hand rub and 4% chlorhexidine (P >0.05).

Conclusions Hand rubbing with alcohol and scrubbing with 4% chlorhexidine effectively reduced hand bacterial flora and they are superior to hand washing with plain soap and antiseptic soap. There is no added advantage in substituting antiseptic soap for plain soap in order to reduce bacterial burden in hands.

How to Cite: Dabare, G.M.I. et al., (2004). The efficacy of surgical scrubs in reducing hand bacterial flora. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science. 47(1), pp.1–6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjms.v47i1.4845
Published on 30 Jun 2004.
Peer Reviewed

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