Hand-Washing Agents and Nosocomial Infections

H. K. Geiss, P. Heeg, Francesco Taroni, Maria Luisa Moro, Nancy Binkin, Mark H. Wilcox, Robert C. Spencer, Bradley N. Doebbeling, Gail L. Stanley, Richard P. Wenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To the Editor: The title of the report by Doebbeling et al. (July 9 issue)1 is somewhat misleading. Although the chlorhexidine gluconate preparation is a hand-washing agent, the intended use of alcohol formulations is not hand-washing but hand disinfection. The error derives from the imprecise terminology of hand-washing, hand disinfection, and hand antisepsis in the American literature.2 When the authors state that the use of chlorhexidine reduces the rate of nosocomial infections more effectively than the use of alcohol, it is at least questionable whether their data have been correctly interpreted. If compliance with alcohol use in the cardiovascular intensive…

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1390-1391
Number of pages2
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number19
StatePublished - Nov 5 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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