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Infection prevention and control guidelines

2. Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene when specific pathogenic microorganisms are present or suspected

      1. Hand hygiene when specific pathogenic microorganisms are present or suspected

Last revised: 18 Aug 2023

Hand hygiene when specific pathogenic microorganisms are present or suspected

The use of plain or antimicrobial liquid soap and water is recommended to facilitate mechanical removal of bacterial spores (eg when C. difficile present or suspected), or when non-enveloped viruses (eg hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotavirus, poliovirus) are present or suspected.

It is also recommended if any of the following has occurred:

  • The person was not wearing gloves when the possible contamination occurred.
  • Gloves were breached
  • There is visible hand contamination despite glove use.

After washing, hands must be dried thoroughly with a single-use towel.

Alcohol-based handrubs are less effective against these organisms, which can survive for extended periods on surfaces. Therefore, soap and water should be used where faecal contamination is possible.

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