Monday, August 15, 2011

Hand Sanitizers may cause Outbreaks of NoroVirus

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Hand SanitizersIn health care setting, hand sanitizers are really important. Most of the staff of a health care setting give preference to hand sanitizer than soap and water. This saves their time and provides more satisfaction because we think hand sanitizers are more effective in its germicidal action.

A new research found that, use of hand sanitizer may increase the chances of outbreaks of Norovirus. Norovirus is a virus causing gastro-enteritis. The research was conducted in American College of Preventative Medicine and found that in 53% of the hospital setting, where alcohol based hand sanitizers are used, there is an outbreak of noro virus. It is significantly less in hospitals were soap and water is used to clean hands.


It is hypothesized that the same mechanism where bacteria and virus gets resistant to anti-microbial agents with persistent use is acting here. With the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers, norovirus may get resistant to it and cause the outbreak of gastro-enteritis.

According to experts, more detailed research is necessary to find out exactly what is causing this. Scientists could not prove any direct link between the norovirus outbreak and resistance developed as a result of use of hand sanitizers. Scientists also have to find out the role of alcohol in this phenomena.

According to the author of the study, Dr. David Blaney of the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), what they found shows that hand sanitizers could be "suboptimal in controlling the spread of noroviruses". And that any casual link is non-existent due to the survey's retrospective design.

He also said that more reports from hopitals using hand sanitizers about the outbreaks of norovirus may be because they may have a more efficient system for identifying hospital based infections..

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