In both the human and veterinary medical fields, Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) are an important burden leading to increased health care cost from additional treatment, antibiotic use, hospital stay and potential death. In veterinary health care, these complications often create emotional and financial distress for animal owners and drastically affect animal welfare. Further due to their often zoonotic character (diseases transmittable from animals on humans they become an increasing concern to public health authorities.

Proper hand hygiene has long been recognized in human medicine as the key factor in reducing transmission of health care acquired infections. Hence the intensive effort of the World Health Organization to promote hand hygiene amongst health care workers with vast “Clean Hands Save Lives” campaigns.

Despite these important considerations, little attention has been given to hand hygiene in animal health care.

This website is part of the “Clean Hands Save Animals” project and aims at providing guidelines, protocols and educational material in order to promote hand-hygiene in veterinary facilities. The “Clean Hands Safe Animals” project is a joint research initiative between Denis Verwilghen, Gaby van Galen, Peter Damborg from the Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Scott Weese and Ameet Singh from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Prof Günter Kampf from Bode Science Center, Ulrika Gronlund from the Swedish Veterinary Institute and other veterinary health care workers and researchers interested in hand hygiene.

For more information on hand-hygiene and on the “Clean Hands Save Animals” project contact Denis Verwilghen dv”@” References

  • Verwilghen, D., Grulke, S., & Kampf, G. (2011). Pre-Surgical Hand Antisepsis: Concepts and Current Habits of Veterinary Surgeons. Veterinary Surgery, 40(5), 515–521.
  • Verwilghen, D., Mainil, J., Mastrocicco, E., Hamaide, A., Detilleux, J., Van Galen, G., Serteyn, D., & Grulke, S. (2011). Surgical hand antisepsis in veterinary practice: evaluation of soap scrubs and alcohol based rub techniques. Veterinary Journal. 190, 372-377.
  • Verwilghen, D.R., Singh A., Findji, L., Dupré G., Weese S., van Galen G.(2013) Handhealth scores related to surgical handpreparation in veterinary surgeons. In preparation.

Full website under construction: more information available soon

hands washing