Australian Handwashing Campaign Reduces Staphylococcus Aureas Infections in Hospitals

The National Australian Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) was launched back in 2009 and has seen a significant reduction in Staphylococcus aureas infections among Australian healthcare workers since then. A research presented during the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Amsterdam, Netherlands last April 13 to 16 published these findings in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The findings stated that there was a 15% decline in cases of S. aureas infections for every 10% increase in hand hygiene compliance within the 132 largest public hospitals in Australia. These hospitals accounted for more than 75% of all public inpatient care within the country from 2016 to 2017.

Mandatory guidelines that were line with the World Health Organization’s hand hygiene standards were followed during the study’s duration. This required sanitizing one’s hands before handling a patient, after touching a patient, after touching a patient’s surroundings, before any procedure, and after exposure to bodily fluids or wounds.

The authors of the study mentioned that the NHHI can become the new standard for hospitals outside of Australia due to its positive outcome. The initiative followed strict compliance of hand hygiene standards and recorded the results diligently, even during night shifts and the weekends.

On a final note, the study explained that while there was a direct relationship between the decline of S. aureus infection and the increase of hand hygiene compliance, it also recognized that other factors viral outbreaks or other antimicrobial stewardship programs might have affected the results.

The Dangers of Staphylococcus Aureas

Staphylococcus Aureas is a type of bacteria that is found on the skin, hair, and inside the noses and throats of animals and people. An infection due to the bacteria has been linked to poor hand hygiene and can lead to more serious cases such as sepsis, pneumonia, and endocarditis.

Even healthy people are considered long-term carriers of S. aureas, residing within the throats, nostrils, or skin of these individuals. S. aureas can cause various illnesses ranging from minor ones like pimples, boils, or abscesses to more life-threatening diseases like the ones listed above.

Around 500,000 cases of S. aureas infections have been documented in the United States each year, with up to 50,000 deaths linked to this bacterium.

(via European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases)

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