Background: Hand hygiene is important for interrupting transmission of viruses through hands. Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand disinfectant has been shown for bacteria but their effectiveness in reducing transmission of viruses is ambiguous. Aim: To test efficacy of alcohol hand disinfectant against human enteric and respiratory viruses and to compare efficacy of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant and handwashing with soap and water against norovirus. Methods: Efficacies of a propanol and an ethanol-based hand disinfectant against human enteric and respiratory viruses were tested in carrier tests. Efficacy of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant and handwashing with soap and water against noroviruses GI.4, GII.4, and MNV1 were tested using finger pad tests. Findings: The alcohol-based hand disinfectant reduced the infectivity of rotavirus and influenza A virus completely within 30s whereas poliovirus Sabin 1, adenovirus type 5, parechovirus 1, and MNV1 infectivity were reduced <3log<inf>10</inf> within 3min. MNV1 infectivity reduction by washing hands with soap and water for 30s (>3.0±0.4log<inf>10</inf>) was significantly higher than treating hands with alcohol (2.8±1.5log<inf>10</inf>). Washing with soap and water for 30s removed genomic copies of MNV1 (>5log<inf>10</inf>), noroviruses GI.4 (>6log<inf>10</inf>), and GII.4 (4log<inf>10</inf>) completely from all finger pads. Treating hands with propanol-based hand disinfectant showed little or no reduction to complete reduction with mean genomic copy reduction of noroviruses GI.4, GII.4, and MNV1 being >2.6, >3.3, and >1.2log<inf>10</inf> polymerase chain reaction units respectively. Conclusions: Washing hands with soap and water is better than using alcohol-based hand disinfectants in removing noroviruses from hands.

Carrier test, Enteric virus, Finger pad test, Foodborne viruses, Hand disinfection, Norovirus, Respiratory viruses
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2015.02.019, hdl.handle.net/1765/83270
Journal of Hospital Infection
Department of Virology

Tuladhar, E, Hazeleger, W.C, Koopmans, M.P.G, D.V.M., Zwietering, M.H, Duizer, E, & Beumer, R.R. (2015). Reducing viral contamination from finger pads: Handwashing is more effective than alcohol-based hand disinfectants. Journal of Hospital Infection, 90(3), 226–234. doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2015.02.019