The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Reduce the presence of influenza A

     Wash your hands.

    I’m reposting this entry because it seem relevant to the swine flu epidemic.

    First, the details.

    • 20 vaccinated, antibody-positive healthcare workers had their hands contaminated with live human influenza A virus (H1N1; A/New Caledonia/20/99).
    • They were assigned to 1 of 5 hand hygiene protocols
      • No hand hygiene (control)
      • Soap and water hand washing
      • 1 of 3 alcohol-based hand rubs (61.5% ethanol gel, 70% ethanol + 0.5% chlorhexidine solution, or 70% isopropanol + 0.5% chlorhexidine solution).
    • Viral culture and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (useful to measure small amounts of DNA and RNA) were used to measure changes in the flu virus.

    And, the results.

    • There was an immediate reduction in the presence of the flu virus after brief air-drying in 14 of 20 healthcare workers.
    • 6 of 20 had no viable flu virus on their hands
    • Soap and water hand washing was statistically superior to all 3 alcohol‐based hand rubs, although the actual difference was small.
    • There was minimal reduction in the virus in the absence of hand hygiene.

    The bottom line?
    Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol based cleaner.

    The authors concluded, “Although person-to-person transmission of influenza virus is due primarily to aerosol spread, transmission on the hands of patients and their caregivers is also potentially important.”

    “Appropriate hand hygiene may be an important public health initiative to reduce pandemic and avian influenza transmission.”

    2/24/09 19:19 JR

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