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Protecting patients from nosocomial (health care- acquired) infection often comes down to the cleanliness of health care workers' hands. These two measures may help reduce risks.


* Newly developed antimicrobial gloves help prevent pathogens from "sticking" to health care workers' hands. Researchers from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Tex., reported that gloves coated with various antiseptics reduced transmission of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by 90% to 100%. The researchers, who reported their findings at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in San Francisco this fall, say the gloves could also reduce the risk of food poisoning if worn by workers in the food industry.


* "Hand washing reduces the spread of germs. Thank you for washing your hands." That's the message dispensed by an audio reminders device that can be installed in restrooms in health care facilities and restaurants. In an internal study by Kimberly-Clark Professional, use of the Hand Hygiene Voice Module increased hand washing by 12%. The message, which can be delivered in English or Spanish, is repeated every 2 minutes as long as the restroom's lights are on. Intended as a gentle reminder, it doesn't point fingers at those who fail to wash their hands. For more information, visit