Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hygiene Is Most Potent Force In Tackling Deadly Diseases

Date:
July 31, 2003
Source:
Royal Society
Summary:
Rapid and sustained implementation of stringent infection control procedures by healthcare workers in hospitals – such as wearing masks, gowns and washing hands regularly – is the single most important measure in combating the spread of new, infectious diseases for which there is no treatment of vaccine, according to research findings by US scientists.

Rapid and sustained implementation of stringent infection control procedures by healthcare workers in hospitals – such as wearing masks, gowns and washing hands regularly – is the single most important measure in combating the spread of new, infectious diseases for which there is no treatment of vaccine, according to research findings by US scientists to be published in Proceedings B, a learned journal produced by the Royal Society.

Related Articles


Using a mathematical model of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the scientists examined how untreatable infectious diseases that spread rapidly in a hospital environment could best be dealt with. They found that inexpensive and easily implemented hospital-wide contact precautions are the most potent of all disease control measures, and can even substitute for alternative approached such as expensive isolation facilities, quarantine, and sequestration of healthcare workers. Their findings have significant implications for all countries and particularly those with limited resources.

"New, untreatable infectious diseases pose a growing risk as globalisation leads to unprecedented human mobility, and they will continue to challenge public health systems worldwide. Our study examined priorities and trade-offs – how one measure can compensate for another which isn't available in a given setting – between alternative strategies of disease control," says scientist James Lloyd-Smith.

Healthcare workers comprised an alarmingly high proportion of SARS cases – 61 per cent in Hanoi and around 50 per cent in Toronto – so the study focuses on hospitals and their surrounding communities. The model shows that hospital-wide infection controls are more important than, for example, precautions specific to known SARS patients, since hospital-wide precautions block transmission in unidentified cases as well. In every scenario examined, a breakdown in general infection control was more damaging to disease containment efforts than a breakdown in any other transmission-reducing measure. The scientists' findings will help health authorities make decisions about how to allocate limited resources in the future.

Following global alerts and media attention about SARS, health authorities worldwide imposed strict control policies and largely prevented new outbreaks. The two notable exceptions, in Taiwan and Toronto, were both linked to lapses in hospital infection control procedures, even though these were quickly rectified and brought under control. While the scientists say that the combination of hospital-wide contact precautions with respiratory isolation of known SARS patients is always preferable, for developing countries that cannot afford the latter, stringent contact precautions alone can be an effective substitute.

"It was fortunate for Britain that SARS did not arrive until after the alarm was sounded so there was time to prepare and avoid a local outbreak. We can't assume it, or other countries, will be so lucky in the future. Our research demonstrates that rapid response and effective, well-disciplined infection control are the key factors that will enable countries to tackle these outbreaks successfully," concludes Lloyd-Smith.

'Curtailing transmission of severe, acute respiratory syndrome within a community and its hospital', by James Lloyd-Smith; Alison Galvani and Wayne Getz, University of California, Berkeley, USA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Society. "Hygiene Is Most Potent Force In Tackling Deadly Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030730075733.htm>.
Royal Society. (2003, July 31). Hygiene Is Most Potent Force In Tackling Deadly Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030730075733.htm
Royal Society. "Hygiene Is Most Potent Force In Tackling Deadly Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030730075733.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins