Detection of bacterial pathogens in the hands of rural school children across different age groups and emphasizing the importance of hand wash.


Hand hygiene in school children
Importance of hand washing
Bacteria in hands of school children.


Introduction: Contaminated hands remain the mainstay cause of infection children. Infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia were found to be common among children who have limited knowledge on the importance of hand wash.  The present study was aimed to assess the relationship between the bacterial load sampled from the hands of school children and their routine hand wash practice methods.

Methods: Samples were collected from both the hands of 200 rural school children. Bacterial colonies isolated from the swabs were identified by standard microbiological procedures. Questionnaire was provided to gather matrix of routine hand wash practice from the subjects. Proper handwashing technique was demonstrated to children.

Results: More than 95% of the children harbored commensal like CoNS and Aerobic spore formers. Other pathogenic bacteria isolated include Acinetobacter species (36.5 %), Pseudomonas species 4% (15), Enterococcus species (2%), Klebsiella species (3.5%), Flavobacterium species (1.7%), Escherichia coli (2%), and Enterobacter species (0.75%).  It was found that the male children harbored more bacteria in their hands when compared to female population. Bacterial population like Pseudomonas species, Klebsiella species and Enterococcus species were predominant in the hands of children belonging to 7-10 years of age whereas Acinetobacter species, Escherichia coli and Flavobacterium species were slightly higher among 11-15 years of age.  This information corresponds to the poor hand washing practices among the children.

Conclusion: It can thus be concluded from our study that simple handwashing practices can efficiently reduce the transmission of pathogenic bacteria from our hands and greatly reduce the transmission of infection.


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