Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Graduation contamination

May 17, 2011

BALTIMORE — While graduation is a time for celebrating all that has been accomplished during an academic career, the ceremony could lead to bacteria exposure, according to Infection Control Today.

In order to assess the idea, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied the risk of exposure to pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) through shaking hands at graduation ceremonies across Maryland, the article stated.

According to the article, researchers swabbed participants'' hands before and immediately following graduation in order to identify any pathogenic bacteria.

"A single handshake offers only a small risk of acquiring harmful bacteria," said David Bishai, MD, PhD, MPH, professor with the Bloomberg School''s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

"Our study indicates when shaking hands, the rate of hand contamination among graduating students to be 100 times lower than the 17 percent rate observed among health workers caring for patients known to be colonized with MRSA," Bishai added.

Researchers conducted a repeated measures observational study among select elementary, secondary and post-secondary school graduations in May of 2008, measuring bacteriological culture from each hand of school officials immediately after the application of commercial hand sanitizer and immediately before a graduation ceremony, the article noted.

Click here to read the complete article.