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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 802930, 6 pages
Research Article

Knowledge of and Adherence to Hygiene Guidelines among Medical Students in Austria

1Dermatologikum Hamburg, 20354 Hamburg, Germany
2Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria
3Institute for Hygiene, Microbiology and Environmental Medicine, Medical University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
4Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

Received 17 February 2013; Accepted 19 March 2013

Academic Editor: Mary E. Marquart

Copyright © 2013 Verena G. Herbert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Adherence to hygiene guidelines is of utmost importance for healthcare professionals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge on and the adherence to hygiene guidelines among medical students in Austria. Additionally, a possible difference between female and male students was investigated. Methods. An open paper-based survey among third-year medical students at the Medical University of Graz was conducted. The questionnaire consisted of 20 single-choice questions covering compliance with basic hygiene standards, self-rated knowledge of hygiene guidelines, and satisfaction with current hygiene education, equipment, and quality standards. Results. Of 192 medical students, 70% judged their knowledge of hygiene standards as “excellent” or “good”; however, only 49% reported adherence to hygiene guidelines and only 43% performed hygienic hand disinfection according to WHO guidelines. Of the respondents, 79% voted for a mandatory course on hygiene standards in medical education. No significant gender differences were observed. Conclusion. While the knowledge on hygiene guidelines appears to be good among medical students, adherence is limited and requires improvement. The need for an optimum education in hygiene is high.