National center for infection control professionals, healthcare experts, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and consumers focused on best practices in hand hygiene and hand sanitizer products

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Fight Against Clostridium Difficile: New Drug Shows Promise

San Diego-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals says that that its newly developed antiobiotic is showing significant promise as a weapon in the war against the notorious superbug, Clostridium Difficile a/k/a C.difficile, a/k/a C.diff.

The superbug, which leads to septic shock in close to 10% of those that acquire the virus, overshadows MRSA as being one of the most prevalent hospital-acquired viruses, and health care experts have estimated that attacking C.diff costs more than $1 billion a year in the US alone.

Although clinical trials can extend for months, if not years, we clap our hands in support of efforts to quash C.diff, and in the interim, we continue to support all efforts that promote proper hand hygiene as the most effective way to stem the transmission of easily-acquired bacteria and viruses.

Washing with non-antimicrobial soap is the first line of defense, and if washing with soap and water isn't readily available, be smart about the hand sanitizer product that you use. Alcohol-free, rinse free hand sanitizer products; those that contain the organic compound benzalkonium chloride, are being widely embraced by infection control experts as the most pragmatic alternative to alcohol-based gels, which are being eschewed by those that finally understand the negative 'features' of legacy alcohol based products--they destroy protective skin cells, cause dry/irritated skin, and in turn exposing users to increased risk of acquiring the same bacteria and viruses that the products are supposedly protecting against.

And yes, alcohol-based gels kill germs-presuming you've washed your hands of dirt prior to applying--and while killing germs, the alcohol gel will also kill industrial floor wax, paint, materials, and just about anything else that you apply it to..Great product for stripping paint...but not for putting into your hands...Do the research..we've profiled at least several alcohol-free, rinse free, fragrance and dye free products in this column!

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