(HealthDay News) – The implementation of the Cleanyourhands campaign increased procurement of alcohol rub and soap, which is associated with decreased rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia and Clostridium difficile ( C. difficile) infection, according to a study published online May 3 in BMJ.

Sheldon Paul Stone, MD, from the University College London Medical School, and colleagues assessed the impact of the Cleanyourhands campaign in 187 hospital trusts in England and Wales. Starting in December 2004, bedside alcohol hand rub was installed, materials promoting hand hygiene were distributed, and regular hand hygiene audits were conducted. The quarterly rates of hospital procurement of alcohol hand rub and liquid soap were assessed for each trust from July 2004–June 2008, as were rates of MRSA, methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteremia, and C. difficile infection.

The researchers found that the combined procurement of soap and alcohol rub increased from 21.8mL to 59.8mL per patient bed day, with procurement increasing in correlation with each campaign phase. The rates of MRSA bacteremia and C. difficile infection decreased (1.88 to 0.91 cases per 10,000 bed days and 16.75 to 9.49 cases, respectively). There was no decrease in MSSA bacteremia rates. There was a significant and independent association between increased procurement of soap and reduced C. difficile infection. Reduced MRSA bacteremia was independently associated with increased procurement of alcohol hand rub in the last four quarters of the study.

“The Cleanyourhands campaign was associated with sustained increases in hospital procurement of alcohol rub and soap, which the results suggest has an important role in reducing rates of some health care associated infections,” the authors write.

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