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Posts Tagged ‘London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’

Toilet hands!

Posted by feww on October 15, 2008

14 October: The UN Hand-Washing Day

Millions around the world washed their hands with soap to mark the inaugural Global Hand Washing Day celebrations. Washing hands with water is simply not enough. Washing hands with soap, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet, can potentially save the lives of almost 3.5 million children every year who die from diarrhea and pneumonia. UNICEF


Global Hand Washing Day in Timor-Leste. Private industry and the public sector have joined together to establish the first-ever Global Hand Washing Day, raising awareness to the risk of disease this simple act can prevent. Location: Dili, Timor-Leste. Date: 14 October 2008. Photo # 201397 – UN Photo/Martine Perret. Image may be subject to copyright.

Toilet hands

Meanwhile, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine swabbed over 400 commuters at bus and train stations in  five major UK cities, and discovered that more than one in four had bacteria from feces on their hands. The results were as follows:

Newcastle – men 53%, women 30%
Liverpool – men 36%, women 31%
Birmingham – men 21%, women 26%
Cardiff – men 15%, women 29%
London – men 6%, women 21%

Dr Val Curtis, director of the Hygiene Center at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We were flabbergasted by the finding that so many people had fecal bugs on their hands.

“The figures were far higher than we had anticipated, and suggest that there is a real problem with people washing their hands in the UK.

“If any of these people had been suffering from a diarrhea disease, the potential for it to be passed around would be greatly increased by their failure to wash their hands after going to the toilet.”

Professor Mike Catchpole, director of the Health Protection Agency’s Center for Infections, said: “These results are startling and should be enough to make anyone reach for the soap.

“It is well known that hand washing is one of the most important ways of controlling the spread of infections, especially those that cause diarrhea and vomiting, colds and flu.

“People should always wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating or handling food, and after handling animals. And remember to cover all cuts and scratches with a waterproof dressing.”

Cases of norovirus – the winter vomiting bug – are rising in the UK, the HPA said. About a million people in the UK are affected by the bug each year.

“Norovirus is the most common cause of gastrointestinal disease in the UK with peak activity in terms of numbers of cases and outbreaks during the winter months, from October to March.” BBC reported.

Professor Catchpole said: “Norovirus is highly infectious and easily spread in settings where people are in close contact with one another so good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, is really important.”

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Posted in diarrhea, fecal bacteria, norovirus, UK, winter vomiting bug | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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