Evaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods

Kimmitt, P.T. and Redway, K. 2016. Evaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 120 (2), pp. 478-486.

TitleEvaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods
AuthorsKimmitt, P.T. and Redway, K.
Abstract

Aims

To use a MS2 bacteriophage model to compare three hand-drying methods, paper towels (PT), a warm air dryer (WAD) and a jet air dryer (JAD), for their potential to disperse viruses and contaminate the immediate environment during use.

Methods and Results

Participants washed their gloved hands with a suspension of MS2 bacteriophage and hands were dried with one of the three hand-drying devices. The quantity of MS2 present in the areas around each device was determined using a plaque assay. Samples were collected from plates containing the indicator strain, placed at varying heights and distances and also from the air. Over a height range of 0.15-1.65 m, the JAD dispersed an average of >60 and >1300-fold more plaque-forming units (pfu) compared to the WAD and PT (P <0.0001), respectively. The JAD dispersed an average of >20 and >190-fold more pfu in total compared to WAD and PT at all distances tested up to 3 m (P <0.01), respectively. Air samples collected around each device 15 minutes after use indicated that the JAD dispersed an average of >50 and >100-fold more pfu compared to the WAD and PT (P <0.001), respectively.

Conclusions

Use of the JAD lead to significantly greater and further dispersal of MS2 bacteriophage from artificially contaminated hands when compared to the WAD and PT.
Significance and Impact of Study

The choice of hand drying device should be considered carefully in areas where infection prevention concerns are paramount, such as healthcare settings and the food industry.

JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Journal citation120 (2), pp. 478-486
ISSN1365-2672
Year2016
PublisherWiley
Publisher's versionjam13014.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/jam.13014
Publication dates
Published in printFeb 2016
Published online30 Nov 2015
Published30 Nov 2015
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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