(HealthDay News) — Nonsterile glove use after hand hygiene is associated with a reduction in gram-positive bloodstream infections and possible central line-associated bloodstream infections among preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, according to a study published online August 11 in JAMA Pediatrics.

David A. Kaufman, MD, from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues examined whether nonsterile glove use after hand hygiene before all patient and intravenous catheter contact prevents late-onset infections in preterm infants compared with hand hygiene alone. Data were collected from a prospective, single-center trial conducted among 120 infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit during a 30-month period from December 2008 to June 2011. Infants were randomized to receive care with nonsterile gloves after hand hygiene (group A) or care after hand hygiene alone (group B).

The researchers found that 32% of infants in group A and 45% in group B had late-onset invasive infection or necrotizing enterocolitis (difference, −12%; P=0.13). Compared to group B, in group A there were significantly fewer gram-positive bloodstream infections (15 vs. 32%; difference, −17%; P=0.03) and central line-associated bloodstream infections (3.4 vs. 9.4 per 1,000 central line days; ratio, 0.36; P=0.01).

“This readily implementable infection control measure may result in decreased infections in high-risk preterm infants,” the authors write.

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