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Community-Based Infections and the Potential Role of Common Touch Surfaces as Vectors for the Transmission of Infectious Agents in Home and Community Settings

In this review Professor Elizabeth Scott argues that future intervention studies in home and community settings must consider the inclusion of common touch surfaces.  The paper sets out to show that, although our hands play an obvious role in the transmission of many of these pathogens, common touch surfaces are also an important part of the transmission equation, but tend to get overlooked because of the lack of intervention study data showing a direct link to infection.

The paper starts by summarising the current evidence showing why hygiene in home and community settings is important, not just in prevention of infection, but also in reducing the need for antibiotic prescribing and the spread of antibiotic resistant strains.  The paper then sets out the most recent laboratory and field studies showing how gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin pathogens are transmitted directly between human beings via contact with hands and skin or by breathing in respiratory droplets. The data shows how indirect contact and transmission occurs when pathogens are shed onto environmental surfaces from human beings, pets, and food and are then transmitted back to another human being via hand contact or via cross-contamination to another foodstuff or yet another surface.  

Author: Scott EA

Citation: http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(13)00938-3/abstract

Published: 21/09/2013

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: American Journal of Infection Control