[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 23-Aug-2010
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2165
BioMed Central

Alcohol-based hand disinfectants improve business productivity

The placement of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in businesses can reduce illness and absenteeism amongst the work force. A study published in the open access journal, BMC Infectious Diseases, has found that incidences of absenteeism in public administrations due to the common cold, fever and cough are significantly reduced when alcohol-based hand disinfectants are used by employees.

Nils-Olaf Hübner and a team from Germany analyzed absenteeism and symptom data from 129 participants. He said, "Our study found that hand disinfection reduced the number of episodes of illness for the majority of the investigated symptoms." In the study, the participants were divided into two groups. The control group were told to maintain normal hand washing behaviour, whilst the intervention group were supplied with hand disinfectant and instructed to attempt to use it at least five times during a working day. Disinfectant use was encouraged, especially after activities which were likely to facilitate bacterial or viral transfer, such as toilet use and nose blowing.

Whilst the effect of hand disinfectants in medical facilities and non-clinical settings such as child day -care centres had already been documented, its effectiveness in improving employee health in open community work places had not been assessed. The study also found a reduction in symptoms of illness during times when participants were not absent from work, suggesting that hand disinfectant use can reduce on-the-job-productivity-losses, increase workplace health levels, and therefore improve overall productivity.

Summing up his findings Hübner suggested that "Hand disinfection can easily be introduced and maintained as part of the daily hand hygiene, acting as an interesting and cost-efficient method of improving workforce health and effectiveness".

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Notes to Editors

1. Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in a public administration: Impact on health and work performance related to acute respiratory symptoms and diarrhoea
Nils-Olaf Hübner, Claudia Hübner, Michael Wodny, Günter Kampf and Axel Kramer
BMC Infectious Diseases (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1570326333218848_article.pdf?random=283674

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcinfectdis/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. BMC Infectious Diseases is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of the prevention, diagnosis and management of infectious and sexually transmitted diseases in humans, as well as related molecular genetics, pathophysiology, and epidemiology. BMC Infectious Diseases (ISSN 1471-2334) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, CABI, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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