Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 251483, 5 pages
Research Article

A Study on Hand Contamination and Hand Washing Practices among Medical Students

Division of Community Medicine, International Medical University, 126, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 19, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 6 January 2012; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editors: E. C. Alexopoulos and K. McLeroy

Copyright © 2012 Watutantrige Ranjit De Alwis 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.


Harmful microorganisms can be transferred to hands from contaminated surfaces people come into contact in daily life. Contaminated hands can transmit disease to one self as well as to others. A study was done to determine the extent to which hand hygiene practices and toilet door knobs contribute to the bacterial load of hands of toilet users in a medical school. Swabs were taken from a randomly selected sample of 60 medical students for bacterial count from both hands before and after toilet use and from door knobs of six toilets. Only 40 (66.7%) claimed they washed hands with soap. Significantly more females (83%) used soap to wash hands compared to males (50%). Bacterial load in the hands of both males and females showed an increase after toilet use. The increase was significant among male students. The dominant hand had a significantly higher bacterial load than the other. The mean bacterial load of male toilet door knobs (12 CFU/cm2) were significantly higher than of female toilet door knobs (2.5 CFU/cm2) ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ). Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from the hands of 21 students. Toilets and washrooms should be designed so as to eliminate the sources of contamination of the hands.