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Handwashing beats sanitizer for killing flu virus on hands

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  • Handwashing beats sanitizer for killing flu virus on hands

    Health workers who use hand sanitizer between patients may be more likely to spread flu germs than those who take the time to wash their hands, a recent experiment suggests. That?s because fresh mucus from infected patients interferes with the ability of the alcohol in hand sanitizer to reach the concentrations needed to deactivate the flu virus, researchers report in mSphere.
    Previously, it was recognized that rubbing hands with sanitizer and handwashing with an antiseptic cleanser have similar disinfection effects against flu viruses, said Dr. Ryohei Hirose, an infectious disease researcher at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan who led the study.
    ?However, in this study, we show that the physical properties . . . of mucus protect influenza A virus from inactivation by ethanol-based disinfectants,? Hirose said by email. ?This increases the risk of (active influenza virus) transmission, and hinders the eradication of healthcare-acquired infections.?

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