Disinfection of gloves might reduce the workload of healthcare workers, protect the environment, and bring economic benefits. Thus, the safety of hand hygiene of gloved hands is an important issue.
We aimed to evaluate the risk of microbial transmission by comparing residual micro-organisms after multiple patient contacts, with or without gloves, in clinical practice.
Researchers, two with gloved hands (single or double gloves) and one with bare hands, made rounds of patients, followed by alcohol-based hand rub. Hand imprints were obtained before and after the rounds and cultured. The number of colony-forming units (cfu) of gloved and bare hands was compared, and the colony distribution was evaluated semi-quantitatively by hand region.
Findings and Conclusion
A total of 108 imprints were obtained after 10 rounds. The median cfu counts were significantly higher in the gloved hands (single and double) than in the bare hands (9.00 vs 3.50, P=0.028). The cfu counts of single- and double-gloved hands were higher after than before contact (P=0.044 and P=0.001, respectively). Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii was identified in a pair of double gloves after a round, which included patients with the same organism with identical antibiotic susceptibility results. The mean percentage of colony-growing compartments from gloved hands was significantly higher than that of bare hands in the finger and wrist regions (P=0.019 and P=0.049, respectively). Compared with bare hands, reuse of gloves increased residual microbial colonies and potential for transmission of multi-drug-resistant organisms, even after using alcohol-based hand rub.
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Published online: March 17, 2023
Accepted: January 15, 2023
Received: October 27, 2022
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