Last updateMon, 01 Jun 2020 3pm

“Is hand drying choice as important as hand washing?”

Leading medical microbiologist Professor Mark Wilcox will explore the question in his presentation at the Infection Prevention Society Conference 2019
rofessor Mark Wilcox, MD, consultant microbiologist and Head of R&D in Microbiology at the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, will present a session entitled “Is hand drying choice as important as hand washing?” at the prestigious Infection Prevention Society (IPS) 2019 Conference being held at the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, UK from 22-24 September.

Now in its 12th year, and celebrating 60 years of Infection Control Nursing, the IPS Conference gathers leading experts from across Europe and beyond. IPS 2019 will see presentations on the latest and current emerging threats alongside state-of-the art research.

Professor Wilcox’s 30-minute presentation takes place on Monday 23rd September from 12.50 – 13.20 in Poster Talk Area 1 and will emphasise the importance of hand drying choice in minimising the spread of infection. It will draw on laboratory and real-life studies which demonstrate how some hand drying methods are associated with a greater risk of dissemination of residual microbes from hands after (especially suboptimal) handwashing.

Professor Wilcox will reference his multicentre study in hospital toilets in France, Italy and UK, which explored the prevalence of environmental contamination – including by antibiotic resistant bacteria - according to two hand drying methods: single use paper towels and jet air dryers. It found higher levels of surface bacterial contamination - including by faecal associated (enterococci and enterobacteria) and antibiotic resistant bacteria (MRSA and ESBL-producing bacteria) – in toilets using jet air dryers compared with those using single use paper towels. The study also demonstrated that hand drying method can affect the risk of airborne dissemination of bacteria in real world settings.

In anticipation of his presentation Professor Wilcox said, “Hand hygiene is one of the most important components of infection prevention and the choice of hand drying method has serious implications for minimising the spread of cross–infection in healthcare settings. The fact that bacteria including MRSA, enterobacteria and enterococci can be spread as a result of poor hand drying should be of particular interest to infection prevention and control doctors and nurses and procurement managers around the world.””


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