Hand Washing Before and After Applying Different Hand Hygiene Techniques in Places of Public Concern in Tripoli-Libya

Mohamed R. AL Sagher*, Sally A. Soudah, Asma E. Khsheba, Sara M. Fadel, Masara A. Dadiesh, Maram A. Houme, Aya S. Eshagroni, Fadia F. Alosta, Soad M. Almsalaty
Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya



Hand hygiene has being considered as one of the primary measures to improve standards and practice for hospital care and to minimize the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. There is substantial evidence that incidence of hospital acquired infections is reduced by applying hand antisepsis. Regarding hand hygiene and public concern, hand washing has revealed that 85% of the observed adults wash their hands after using public toilets.


To compare the efficacy of hand rubbing with an alcohol based solution versus conventional hand washing with antiseptic and non-antiseptic soaps in reducing bacterial counts using different hand hygiene techniques.


Ninety-three volunteers took part in this study; 57 from Tripoli medical center (TMC); 16 from school; 11 from bank; and 9 from office. All volunteers performed six hand hygiene techniques, immediately before and after a volunteer practice activity: hand washing with non-antiseptic soap for 10 and 30 second (s); hand washing with antiseptic soap for 10, 30 or 60 s; and alcohol-based hand rub. A total of 864 specimens were taken: 432 before and 432 after volunteer's hand hygiene. The fingertips of the dominant hand for each volunteer were pressed on to agar for culture before and after each hand hygiene technique. Plates were incubated at 37oC, and colony-forming units were counted after 48 hours and pathogenic bacteria were identified.


Results showed that 617 specimens (71.41%) were positive for bacterial growth. 301 (48.78%) were from TMC, 118 (19.12%) were from office; 107 (14.34%) were from school and 91 (14.75%) were from bank.


Both antiseptic and non–antiseptic soaps did not work properly in reducing bacterial counts of worker’s hands at all places of study, but significantly improved by an application of alcohol based gel.

Keywords: Hand hygiene, Hand washing, Hospital acquired infections, Microbial contamination.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOMICROJ-2017-2523

Article History:

Received Date: 30/7/2018
Revision Received Date: 18/10/2018
Acceptance Date: 22/10/2018
Electronic publication date: 1/11/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Sagher et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Tripoli, P.O. Box 13645, Tripoli - Libya; Tel: +218 91 329 3623; Fax: +218 92 735 5650; E-mail: alsagher2002@yahoo.co.uk