CDC Emphasizes Hand Hygiene's Role in Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

Today, May 5, SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands is celebrated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners to encourage healthcare providers to promote and practice good hand hygiene to reduce the risk of infection among patients. This year’s theme highlights the importance of hand hygiene to prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

CDC recently highlighted antibiotic resistant threats in a new report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Every year, more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result. To combat antibiotic resistance, CDC has identified four core actions including to prevent infections in the first place to reduce the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop. Hand hygiene is a key step in preventing infections.

According to WHO, convincing evidence that improved hand hygiene practices lead to a reduction of infections caused by multidrug resistant bacteria in health facilities has been presented in a new report. For example, when hand hygiene compliance in healthcare facilities increases from poor (<60 percent) to excellent (90 percent), there can be a 24 percent reduction in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acquisition.

CDC offers several hand hygiene resources for patients and healthcare providers:
Click here to watch the Hand Hygiene Saves Lives: Patient Admission Video and download accompanying materials
Click here to take the Hand Hygiene Interactive Training Course