Research Article| Volume 97, ISSUE 4, P424-429, December 2017

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The potential of alcohol release doorplates to reduce surface contamination during hand contact

  • E.L. Best
    Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
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  • P. Parnell
    Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
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  • M.H. Wilcox
    Corresponding author. Address: Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK. Tel.: +44 (0)113 3926818.
    Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK

    University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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      Optimal hand hygiene may be compromised by contact with contaminated environmental surfaces.


      To investigate the in-vitro efficacy of a novel alcohol-release doorplate to reduce surface contamination during hand contact.


      Prototype, horizontally held, Surfaceskins, alcohol gel-impregnated and control (aluminium) doorplates were challenged (N = 72 per micro-organism) with Staphylococcus aureus-, Eschericia coli-, Enterococcus faecalis-, or Clostridium difficile-contaminated fingers. S. aureus and E. faecalis were used for challenges (90 per micro-organism) of vertical (modified design) doorplates, on days 0, 3, 4, 6, and 7. Surface contamination was measured pre and immediately post challenges using agar contact plates.


      Horizontal test, but not control, doorplates demonstrated bacterial killing of S. aureus, E. faecalis and E. coli, but not of C. difficile; hence, only testing of S. aureus and E. faecalis was continued. Vertical Surfaceskins, but not control, doorplates demonstrated rapid killing of S. aureus over seven days. There were significant reductions (>90% up to day 6; P ≤ 0.01) of surface bacterial colony counts compared with controls immediately post challenge. There were also significant reductions in Surfaceskins doorplate enterococcal colony counts compared with controls on every day of testing (P ≤ 0.004). There was no evidence that bacterial recovery was greater from the tops of Surfaceskins doorplates (i.e. due to pooling of contents).


      Surfaceskins doorplates were efficient at reducing surface contamination by S. aureus, E. faecalis, and E. coli. Reducing microbial contamination of frequently touched door surfaces, and so bacterial transfer via hands, could feasibly reduce the risk of healthcare-associated and other infections.


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