Transmission of microorganisms from the hands of health care workers is the main source of cross-infection in hospitals and health care facilities and can be prevented by proper hand washing.
In the United States alone, approximately 50 million surgical procedures are performed each year. Each procedure involves contact by medical personnel with a patient’s sterile tissue or mucous membranes; a major risk of all such procedures is the introduction of pathogens that can lead to infection.
Failure to properly hand wash carries not only risk associated with breach of host barriers but also risk for person-to –person transmission (e.g., hepatitis B virus) and transmission of environmental pathogens (e.g., Pseudomonas Aeruginosa).
Hand washing is emphasized as the single most important measure to prevent cross transmission of micro-organisms and thus to prevent nosocomial infections.
However, under routine hospital practice, compliance with this measure is still unacceptably low, less than 50% in most studies published in the past 20 years. This constant finding is worrying because recent studies have shown that this level of compliance will not reduce the risk of transmission of multiresistant bacteria in hospital, hence giving us Super Bacteria producing death and tissue destruction.
Surgeons have witnessed the results of infections due to poor hygiene administered by many medical personnel and have worked with healthcare staff for proper hand cleansing and sterilization.
Unfortunately statistics and studies show that improper hand cleansing is responsible for a majority of hospital infections leading to increased deaths and tremendous costs to our health care system.
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