Objective: The purpose of this study was to report the impact of increased consumption of alcohol formulations for hand hygiene during an H1N1 outbreak on the incidence of multi-resistant bacteria in a tertiary hospital in
Methods: A retrospective audit was performed to correlate the consumption of alcohol formulations from January 2009 to October 2009 with the incidence of multi-resistant bacteria recovered from clinical samples. The study was performed in a single 1,200-bed university hospital. The H1N1 outbreak started in July 2009. The study comprised two distinct periods, before (Period I; January-June) and after (Period II; July-October) the onset of the epidemy. The consumption of alcohol-based formulations was measured in terms of volume per 1,000 patient-days. Only one distinct isolate was considered per patient. Statistical analyses were performed with SPSS software version 14.0. P values were considered statistically significant if <0.05.
Results: During the period of study, 612 multi-resistant bacterial isolates were recovered from clinical samples. Mean number of multi-resistant isolates was 122.5 and 91.7 during Periods I and II, respectively (p=0.23). Alcohol consumption increased from 9.6 ml/1,000 patient-days (Period I) to 22.3 ml/1,000 patient-days (Period II) (p=0.047). There was a negative and significant correlation between alcohol consumption and the prevalence of multi-resistant bacteria during periods I and II (r= –0.79; p=0.007).
Conclusions: The novel H1N1 infection put health care providers at risk for the acquisition of a potentially serious infection. We suspect that this might have influenced adherence to hand disinfection practices, which in turn resulted in a higher consumption of alcohol-based hand rub and a lower incidence of multi-resistant bacteria.