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Elsevier Science

Am J Infect Control. 1992 Apr;20(2):65-72. doi: 10.1016/s0196-6553(05)80003-3.

Handwashing practices and resistance and density of bacterial hand flora on two pediatric units in Lima, Peru.

American journal of infection control

E L Larson, K J McGinley, A Foglia, J J Leyden, N Boland, J Larson, L C Altobelli, E Salazar-Lindo


  1. Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD 21205.

PMID: 1590601 DOI: 10.1016/s0196-6553(05)80003-3


The handwashing practices and bacterial hand flora of 62 pediatric staff members of a teaching hospital in Lima, Peru, were studied. Handwashing followed patient contact 29.3% of the time (204/697 contacts). Mean duration was 14.5 seconds, and significant differences in practices were found by unit (rehydration or neonatal intensive care), type of staff member (nurses or physicians), and type and duration of patient contact. Mean count of colony-forming units was log10 5.87 +/- 0.41, with significant differences in density of flora found between patient care and kitchen staffs. There was no significant effect of handwashing on counts of colony-forming units. Significant differences were also found by unit and by staff position with regard to species isolated and antimicrobial resistance of isolates. A more efficacious and cost-effective form of hand hygiene and a more prudent use of antimicrobial agents are indicated.

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