Good hand hygiene key in slowing down antibiotic resistance

Poor hand-washing is among the factors contributing to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a recent report issued by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

The AMR is a British effort aimed at examining possibilities to stifle the tide of antibiotic resistance, according to National Geographic. Its previous reports have been focused on topics like drug development and vaccine research. Recently, however, the AMR shifted tone by issuing a report focused on sanitation and hospital hygiene.

In this recent report, the AMR found that only 30 to 40 percent of hospital staff wash their hands as often as they should, with physicians performing worse than the nursing staff. While consistent hand-washing as infection prevention is not a new concept, it is under-practiced.

"We felt it would be of value to point out that just doing the basics can make a huge amount of difference," Jim O'Neill, the former chief economist for Goldman Sachs and chair of the AMR, told National Geographic. "It is concerning that not enough has happened, and that's a reason for a new, independent voice to highlight that."

While it is important that hand-washing rates improve in hospitals, the AMR asserts there is a dearth of research into what actually motivates behavioral changes in healthcare workers. The group recommends funding studies to discern what measure should be taken to improve hand hygiene in hospitals.

More articles on infection control: 
2 more mumps cases confirmed at UNC Charlotte 
Rutgers student hospitalized with meningitis 
FDA recommends banning most powdered medical gloves

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