Schools are encouraging students and teachers to wash hands frequently to prevent outbreaks of swine flu. But a Connecticut infectious disease specialist says installing extra soap dispensers in schools wont help much.
Hand washing is a top recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help decrease the spread of swine flu. More than 400 hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in schools throughout the city of New Haven.
88 year old retired Dr. Edwin Kilbourne led a lab that created the swine flu vaccine virus in the 1970s. Speaking on WNPRs Where We Live, Kilbourne said public health officials dont have a vaccine ready yet, so theyre emphasizing preventive behaviors that may not work. "For example, this handwashing business. Influenza viruses are not spread by hands, contaminated hands. Theyre spread by small droplet aerosols that are float through the air and are inhaled. So I think it will keep busy and happy to watch their hands, but I dont have much faith in that particular approach."
Kilbourne is skeptical, the CDC says handwashing is important because people may become infected by touching something with flu virus on it, then touching their nose or mouth. The new H1N1 vaccine is expected to become available in mid-to late October.