Removal of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus from clinicians’ hands – the role of hand hygiene.

Mrs Susan Jain1

1University of New South Wales, Randwick, Australia , 2Clinical Excellence Commission, Haymarket, Australia


Routine hand hygiene effectively removes methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and/or vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) from healthcare workers’ (HCW) ungloved hands when caring for patients under contact precautions when exposure to body fluids is not expected.


Healthcare workers’ hands were cultured after hand hygiene with alcohol based hand rub (ABHR) or soap and water wash after routine clinical care of patients known to be colonized or infected with MRSA or VRE with ungloved hands.


Two hundred and forty samples from 40 healthcare workers tested and were culture negative either MRSA or VRE after contact with patients when three pumps of ABHR (0/80) or plain soap and water wash (0/80) were used.  No VRE was observed in any of the 120 samples collected. Two plates (2/40) grew 1 colony forming unit of MRSA after two pumps of ABHR. Two HCWs with positive plates were cultured negative on retesting.


Our study shown appropriate hand hygiene was effective in removing MRSA and VRE even when gloves were not used for routine clinical care despite contact with patients known to be colonised with MRSA or VRE. A modified approach to glove use for dry contact with patients on contact precautions might potentially improve patient safety within healthcare settings.


Susan Jain is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales Australia (UNSW) and her current research interests lie in the misuse, or over use, of nonsterile gloves in healthcare settings. She has four category A* publications and she is working for the Clinical Excellence Commission’s Healthcare Associated Infections Program as a project officer in Sydney Australia. Susan is a conjoint lecturer at the UNSW with over 20 years of clinical experience, principally in Infection Prevention and Control and Intensive Care. Susan has been selected for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) International Ambassador Program 2016, and she is working towards the completion of her Master of International Public health.

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