International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

IFH Newsheet April 2014


  1. Latest from IFH
  2. News and new research
  3. Conferences


1. Latest from IFH

Reminder – Free Teleclass: “Are We Too Clean For Our Own Good?” The hygiene hypothesis and its implications for hygiene, lifestyle and public health

This teleclass by Professor Sally Bloomfield will take place on Thurs April 24th 2014, from 1:30 pm−2:30 pm in New York/Toronto (6:30 pm–7:30 pm in London). The main learning objectives are to:

  • Understand the hygiene hypothesis: how understanding of the link between microbial exposure, and allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders is now developing
  • Consider the factors which contribute to reducing the microbial exposure required for immune regulation
  • Consider the implications of the new understanding of the hygiene hypothesis for hygiene practice, life styles and public health

To register go to:


New web resource – “Infection Prevention and Control in Home Healthcare

IFH is pleased to announce the launch of this new resource to mark the 14th IFIC (International Federation of Infection Control) conference in Malta. It is a unique web area where health professionals and others can browse, find information and exchange knowledge on infection prevention and control related to the increasing amount of healthcare delivered at home to family members who are infected or are more vulnerable to infection.

The resource brings together guidelines, training resources and other materials, for use by health professionals and community workers. It also contains materials which can be downloaded and used to give support to patients. It covers issues ranging from general hygiene to specific issues such as hand washing, laundering and home water quality, to protection of specific groups such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing immunosuppressive treatments.

Do you have relevant materials (reviews, factsheets, teaching/self-learning resources, patient support materials) that you would be willing to share with the global IPC community? Please help support us in building this resource – and help your colleagues – by sending them to us and we will place them on this site.

The resource can be accessed from the IFH website homepage or from the IFIC webpage for the SIG.


“Are Clothing and Household Linens a Factor in the ‘Silent’ Spread of Antibiotic Resistant Strains in the Home and Community?” – SIG Session at the IFIC conference, Malta 2014

Professor Sally Bloomfield, on behalf of the IFIC SIG “Infection Control in Home and Everyday Life Settings”, contributed to the 2014 IFIC conference in Malta, on 13–16th March, with a presentation on laundering in home healthcare. The presentation can be found at The presentation was based on the recent IFH reviews of the risks associated with clothing and household linens and the effectiveness of laundering. A recurrent theme of the IFIC 2014 conference was antibiotic resistance and the role of IPC in antibiotic stewardship. Professor Bloomfield reviewed data showing that clothing and linens, since they become contaminated with skin and faecal organisms, may be contributing to the observed increases in the prevalence of MDR strains circulating in the “healthy community”. The presentation summarised the evidence linking clothing etc. to the spread of potentially harmful strains, together with the data taken from around 25 studies of the hygiene effectiveness of laundering. One of the key findings is the extreme variability of this data, which makes it difficult to make recommendations for laundering with any degree of confidence. 


2. News and new research

Workshop: “Hygiene Requirements and Measurements in Dishwashing”

An international workshop entitled “Hygiene Requirements and Measurements in Dishwashing” was organised by the Household and Appliance Technology Section of the University of Bonn on 1st and 2nd of April, 2014. Over 60 experts from 12 countries took part in the workshop and discussions. Experts from different research and work areas like microbiology, hygiene, industrial research and development, together with representatives of appliance and detergents manufacturers discussed the relevance of hygiene in automatic dishwashers.

On the first day, the current state of knowledge due to hygiene topics, e.g. microbial load of automatic dishwashers from quantitative and qualitative perspective or the comparison of the germ reduction in manual and mechanical dishwashing, were presented. It became obvious that a lot of questions cannot be answered and further studies, adapted to conditions like increasing energy efficiency and lower temperatures during dishwashing processes, are required. The importance of implementing a measurement standard for automatic dishwashers with the focus on hygiene parameters was considered. Experts of different appliances (residential and commercial dishwashers, washing machines) presented the current methods of measuring the hygiene performance of appliances. As an output of the discussions it was agreed that , for automatic dishwashers in private households, a measurement standard should be developed. A working group of stakeholders and interested persons was initiated to draft an agreement. A summary of the presentations and the workshop is available at: For more details contact Prof. Dr. Rainer Stamminger (


Teachers call for more time to teach children about good hand hygiene

As many as 9 out of 10 UK teachers believe that good hand hygiene in primary schools can reduce sickness and absenteeism among staff and pupils, according to a new survey. Two thirds of teachers said they would like more time to teach children about good hand hygiene and other life skills, and 54% said they had worried in the past 12 months about absenteeism caused by short term illness and its potential impact on children.

To address these concerns Kimberly-Clark Professional has developed The Healthy Schools Project, a child-friendly programme created to help teachers reinforce positive messages about the benefits of good hand hygiene among youngsters. The Healthy Schools Project* has been designed to engage primary school age children directly and encourage them to take greater responsibility for, and care over, washing their hands to prevent the spread of common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets.

Available to all schools taking part in The Healthy Schools Project* are lesson plans that enable teachers to integrate lessons about hand hygiene seamlessly into the curriculum. The lesson plans have been designed to encourage pupils to take ownership of their own personal and classroom hygiene, and incorporate a rewards programme that acknowledges good behaviour and incentivises pupils to maintain it on an on-going basis. For more details go to


GRIP – a new initiative to tackle overuse of antibiotics for respiratory tract infections

A main driver of the development of antibiotic resistance is the overuse of antibiotics for respiratory tract infections. The vast majority of respiratory infections are self-limiting and are of viral origin. In the process of unnecessary antibiotic use, primary care physicians, pharmacy teams, as well as patients have their roles. To achieve a meaningful reduction in antibiotic use, initiatives which bring about sustained changes in healthcare professionals’ and patients’ behaviour are urgently needed. Raising awareness, combined with tailored education and practical support for healthcare professionals and patients are expected to facilitate behavioural changes. To implement such a program, an overarching framework that can be adapted across countries with the flexibility to address national or local issues is of upmost importance.

The multi-disciplinary Global Respiratory Infection Partnership (GRIP) has been creating an international framework that encompasses a non-antibiotic, pro-symptomatic relief approach to management of respiratory infections (Int J Clin Pract 2013; 67: Suppl 180). This has been translated into a practical toolkit with materials for primary care physicians, pharmacy teams and patients to educate and support them in evidence-based management of upper respiratory tract infections, with sore throat being used as an example. Materials in the toolkit give guidance on appropriate antibiotic prescribing, the physician-patient interaction, patient participation, symptomatic management, and guidance on strategies for effective communication between healthcare providers and patients. These materials can be downloaded from the GRIP website: Future GRIP activities will focus on helping countries or regions in adapting and implementing these materials. The toolkit has already been successfully adapted in a number of countries with future plans for further implementation in 2014. More information can be found at: or by contacting Dr Alike van der Velden ( The project is supported by a grant from Reckitt Benckiser


Efficacy of laundering on norovirus-contaminated fabrics

Norovirus (NoV) is the world’s most common cause of human gastroenteritis. Because of its low infectious dose and its ability to persist in the environment, the virus can be easily transmitted from person-to-person. Although environmental contamination plays a role in the spread of the virus, little is known about how contaminated surfaces and textiles can be cleaned efficiently to prevent infections. Bockmühl and co-workers from Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany have evaluated the efficacy of laundering in preventing spread of NoV. Textiles contaminated with faeces containing NoV were washed in a standard front-loading machine with laundry detergents (with and without bleach) at 30, 40 and 60°C. After each washing cycle RNA was extracted and assayed by real-time PCR. It was found that only a temperature of 60°C could remove all viral RNA from the textile surfaces. At 30 and 40°C detection of RNA after laundering could be reduced by using laundry detergent with bleach. The authors concluded that textiles contaminated with NoV should be washed at temperatures of at least 60°C. If it is impossible to wash textiles using temperatures higher than 40°C, at least a bleach-containing detergent should be used. These results were presented as a poster at the European Detergency conference, Fulda 2013. The poster has also been accepted for publication in Tenside Surfactants Detergents.


3. Conferences

Cryptosporidium and Giardia Outbreaks: Practical Training for Health Professionals. Royal Society of Public Health, 3rd July 2014, London

This conference aims to equip environmental and public health professionals with the skills and knowledge to confidently deal with an outbreak of Cryptosporidium or Giardia. Delegates will be presented with real examples of food and non-food communicable disease outbreaks and led through a series of workshops addressing vital stages in the process from the raising of initial alarm through to resolution and potential prosecutions. Workshops will be supplemented by lectures from some of the country’s top experts in the field. Delegates will learn:

  • About Cryptosporidium and other protozoan parasites such as Giardia lamblia including why they are such a major problem, their aetiology and the latest research surrounding them
  • Where and why they can cause outbreaks
  • How to identify and monitor a potential outbreak
  • Which systems should already be in place
  • How to interpret laboratory information and how a reference microbiology can help

For more details go to: