Ebola, Other Hospital-Acquired Infections... and Handwashing

October 15, 2014 5:23 PM

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As hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrate Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15, the focus on promoting handwashing comes at a pertinent time for health services. The Ebola outbreak has compelled health facilities around the world to assess their infection control readiness. In the hopefully unlikely event that Ebola virus were to turn up at our local hospital or clinic, would we be prepared? Or would Ebola become the latest hospital-associated infection (HAI)?

The answer is complex -- but part of it lies in handwashing. Ebola virus is certainly not the first organism to present the risk of cross-transmission between patients on the hands of health care workers and carers. It is not the first organism that is highly infectious, that can cause severe illnes...

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