Quantitative assessment of risk reduction from hand washing with antibacterial soaps

L. L. Gibson, J. B. Rose, C. N. Haas, C. P. Gerba, P. A. Rusin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that there are 3 713 000 cases of infectious disease associated with day care facilities each year. The objective of this study was to examine the risk reduction achieved from using different soap formulations after diaper changing using a microbial quantitative risk assessment approach. To achieve this, a probability of infection model and an exposure assessment based on micro-organism transfer were used to evaluate the efficacy of different soap formulations in reducing the probability of disease following hand contact with an enteric pathogen. Based on this model, it was determined that the probability of infection ranged from 24/100 to 91/100 for those changing diapers of babies with symptomatic shigellosis who used a control product (soap without an antibacterial ingredient), 22/100 to 91/100 for those who used an antibacterial soap (chlorohexadine 4%), and 15/100 to 90/100 for those who used a triclosan (1.5%) antibacterial soap. Those with asymptomatic shigellosis who used a non-antibacterial control soap had a risk between 49/1 000 00 and 53/100, those who used the 4% chlorohexadine-containing soap had a risk between 43/100 000 and 51/100, and for those who used a 1.5% triclosan soap had a risk between 21/100 000 and 43/100. The adequate washing of hands after diapering reduces risk and can be further reduced by a factor of 20% by the use of an antibacterial soap. Quantitative risk assessment is a valuable tool in the evaluation of household sanitizing agents and low risk outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136S-143S
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology Symposium Supplement
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 30 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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