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Microbiologic effectiveness of hand washing with soap in an urban squatter settlement, Karachi, Pakistan

  • S. P. LUBY (a1), M. AGBOATWALLA (a2), A. RAZA (a1), J. SOBEL (a3), E. D. MINTZ (a3), K. BAIER (a4), R. M. HOEKSTRA (a5), M. H. RAHBAR (a1), R. HASSAN (a6), S. M. QURESHI (a6) and E. J. GANGAROSA (a7)...

Abstract

We conducted a study in a squatter settlement in Karachi, Pakistan where residents report commonly washing their hands to determine if providing soap, encouraging hand washing, and improving wash-water quality would improve hand cleanliness. We allocated interventions to 75 mothers and collected hand-rinse samples on unannounced visits. In the final model compared with mothers who received no hand-washing intervention, mothers who received soap would be expected to have 65% fewer thermotolerant coliform bacteria on their hands (95% CI 40%, 79%) and mothers who received soap, a safe water storage vessel, hypochlorite for water treatment, and instructions to wash their hands with soap and chlorinated water would be expected to have 74% fewer (95% CI 57%, 84%). The difference between those who received soap alone, and those who received soap plus the safe water vessel was not significant (P = 0·26). Providing soap and promoting hand washing measurably improved mothers' hand cleanliness even when used with contaminated water.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Mailstop A-38, Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.

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