Dispersal of bacteria by an electric air hand dryer

Malays J Pathol. 1989 Aug;11:53-6.


The potential risk of an electric air hand dryer contributing to airborne infection in a hospital was investigated using a strain of Serratia marcescens and a strain of coagulase-negative, streptomycin-resistant Staphylococcus. Dispersal of marker bacteria by the air dryer was demonstrated within a radius of about 3 feet from the dryer and to the investigator's laboratory coat. When paper towels were used for hand drying, no dispersal of marker bacteria was demonstrated. It is suggested that air hand dryers are unsuitable for use in critical patient care areas as they may contribute to cross infection either via airborne dissemination or via contaminated personnel.

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Hand Disinfection*
  • Serratia marcescens*