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Comparison of two test methods for the determination of sufficient antimicrobial activity of three for hycommonly used alcohol-based hand rubs gienic hand disinfection

P. Goroncy-Bermes, G. Kampf, B. Meyer

In Europe, the antimicrobial efficacy of alcohol-based hand rubs is determined with a quantitative suspension test (prEN 12054) and a test under practical conditions (EN 1500). Another test method has recently been published by the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) with four differences to the European system in the in vitro tests: additional qualitative suspension tests with product dilutions to the ineffective range; a selection of the most resistant Gram-negative test strains in the qualitative suspension test, which should be used adjacent to Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the quantitative suspension test; a high organic load in the quantitative suspension tests (0.3% albumin and 0.3% sheep erythrocytes); and an aqueous control in the quantitative suspension test. According to DGHM, the in vitro tests should be followed by EN 1500. We have determined the antimicrobial efficacy of three commonly used alcohol-based hand rubs according to both methods. prEN 12054 was carried out without organic load. The qualitative suspension tests (DGHM) were carried out with P. aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus hirae and Candida albicans. The quantitative suspension test (DGHM) was carried out with product dilutions of 75%, 50% and 25%, and a high organic load using the following test organisms: P. aeruginosa, P. mirabilis (one product only), S. aureus, E. hirae and C. albicans. All these suspension tests were carried out in quadruplicate with each product and exposure time. EN 1500 was carried out with 3 mL of each product and an application time of 30 s. All three products achieved the required bactericidal activity of prEN 12054 and the new DGHM method within 30 s, and were equally effective with the reference hand disinfection of EN 1500 within 30 s. In our study, the DGHM test method did not provide additional information for hand rubs which exhibit their bactericidal efficacy with 3 mL within 30 s (EN 1500).