Association of environmental surface contamination with hand hygiene and infections in nursing homes: a prospective cohort study

G. R. Teesing*, M. de Graaf, M. Petrignani, V. Erasmus, C. H.W. Klaassen, C. M.E. Schapendonk, A. Verduijn-Leenman, J. M.G.A. Schols, M. C. Vos, M. P.G. Koopmans, J. H. Richardus, H. Voeten

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Little is known about the presence of infections in nursing home residents, the causative micro-organisms, how hand hygiene (HH) influences the presence of infections in residents, and the extent to which environmental contamination is associated with the incidence of infection among residents. Aims: To establish if environmental contamination can be used as an indicator for HH compliance, and if environmental contamination is associated with the incidence of infection. Methods: Environmental surface samples (ESS) were collected in an exploratory study as part of a HH intervention in 60 nursing homes. ESS results from three distinct surfaces (nurses' station, communal toilet and residents' shared living area) were compared with nurses' HH compliance and the incidence of infection among residents. Real-time polymerase chain reaction assays were used to detect norovirus genogroup I and II, rhinovirus and Escherichia coli. HH compliance was measured by direct observation. The incidence of infection was registered weekly. Findings: Rhinovirus (nurses' station: 41%; toilet: 14%; living area: 29%), norovirus (nurses' station: 18%; toilet: 12%; living area: 16%) and E. coli (nurses' station: 14%; toilet: 58%; living area: 54%) were detected. No significant (P<0.05) associations were found between HH compliance and the presence of micro-organisms. An association was found between E. coli contamination and the incidence of disease in general (P=0.04). No other associations were found between micro-organisms and the incidence of disease. Conclusion: Rhinovirus, norovirus and E. coli were detected on surfaces in nursing homes. No convincing associations were found between environmental contamination and HH compliance or the incidence of disease. This study provides reference data about surface contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100129
JournalInfection Prevention in Practice
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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