The effect of rings on microbial load of health care workers' hands

Am J Infect Control. 1997 Feb;25(1):24-7. doi: 10.1016/s0196-6553(97)90049-3.


Background: The hands of health care workers (HCWs) serve as a major route for transmission of nosocomial infection. Although handwashing is known to reduce cross-transmission of infection, the influence of rings on the efficacy of handwashing and the carriage of bacteria on the hands has not been well established.

Methods: In this study, 50 HCWs with rings were paired by unit with 50 HCWs without rings. Cultures were obtained by use of a timed-friction rinse before and after a timed handwashing. Standard laboratory procedures were followed for identification of the bacteria.

Result: When colony counts before handwashing are taken into consideration, a significant difference is seen after handwashing between the two groups (R2 = 0.56). The regression model showed that the slope was significantly steeper (p < 0.0014) for the group with rings. This effect is more apparent when the colony count on hands is greater than 1000 colony forming units before handwashing.

Conclusions: A standardized, timed handwashing procedure was effective in decreasing the bioload of HCWs' hands. The effect of rings on the bioload was significant in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Fingers / microbiology
  • Hand / microbiology*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient
  • Regression Analysis