Mary and Kaci's Policy Paper

Mary Nebelsick
Kaci Stoneburner
October 2, 2009
Policy Paper

Bacterial infections are a big scare because they spread very easily and quickly. They are spread through every day activities that people do not pay close enough attention to. You may expect the bacteria to be found in public places, but usually people do not think about the bacteria on computer keyboards. One way to limit the spread is by placing disinfecting equipment in high school computer labs.
We now know that bacteria spread easily, but we have usually found an antibiotic that can make us feel better once the bacteria become infectious. Now we know that the bacteria are starting to become resistant to the antibiotics resulting in us becoming sick more often and having no defense against these bacteria once they infect us over and over again(4). Therefore we need to find ways to prevent the spread before it occurs. People should keep their hands clean as much as they can(5), but we sometimes get distracted with our busy lives and forget that we could be carriers of infectious bacteria. We need more education about ways to stop the spread before we come to a point where no antibiotics will work for general bacterial infections. One main area of focus is public schools. Many students touch things during the day that some people would never think to be a place where bacteria are colonizing. If we can find ways to keep many things clean in schools, then that is one major host that we can try to eliminate. The area of focus that we are looking at is computer labs. Many people spread bacteria from their hands, to the computer keyboard to another person thus creating the cycle of spreading many bacteria without even thinking about it (3).

For our policy we feel that to control the spread of microorganisms in Sioux City high schools, the school boards should implement the use of antibacterial hand sanitizers in all computer labs. The students would use the automatic hand sanitizers when they walk into the lab and before they leave. The cost of these sanitizers and the refill packs would be figured into the school budget along with other janitorial supplies. The initial cost of the dispensers would be about $25 a piece and each school would have two computer labs. The yearly cost of refills would be approximately $4,000 which would be a minimal part of the budget. In order to inform and keep students and faculty aware of this policy, fliers would be posted in many parts of the school and on the computer lab doors. People would probably obey this policy because it is not very time consuming and they would have less of a fear of getting a very harmful bacterial infection.

The spread of these microorganisms can easily be eliminated before getting the chance to become resistant to most antibiotics. Many people may think that the excessive hand sanitizer use may cause more problems in resistance or may not be as effective as hand washing. However, the alcohol in the hand sanitizers eliminate all bacteria that it comes in contact with, not giving the bacteria a chance to become resistant(2). Also, compared to the way that most people wash their hands outside of the health care system, hand sanitizer has been found much more effective in killing the bacteria (1). Another problem that may be brought up with the policy would be the schools not getting the funding to supply their computer labs with the hand sanitizing products. However, it could be argued that the hand sanitizer is relatively inexpensive to supply and is also another cleaning supply that is needed to keep the students and staff safe. So even if the school can’t get the extra money to supply the products, there could be possible government grants to help the schools get the funding since the contamination could be considered a major health risk for the school as a whole.
So, our policy would be a very inexpensive and effective way to stop the spread of microorganisms that have the potential to cause the kinds of infections that are causing antibiotics to be overused. If we can kill the bacteria before they infect our bodies then they will never get the chance to come in contact with antibiotics, making antibiotic resistance less frequent.


1. Kampf, Gu¨nter, et al. “Epidemiologic Background of Hand Hygiene and Evaluation of the Most Important Agents for Scrubs and Rubs.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews. Vol. 17 (4): 863-893, October 2004.

2. Michaud, R.N., et al. “Improved Experimental Model for Measuring Skin Degerming Activity on the Human Hand.” Antimicrobil Agents and Chemotherapy. Vol.2 (1): 8-15, July 1972.

3. Neely, Alice N. PhD., et al. “Basic Microbiologic and Infection Control Information to Reduce the Potential Transmission of Pathogens to Patients via Computer Hardware.” Jamia: The Practice of Informatics. Vol. 9(5): 500-508, September/October 2002.

4. Perreten, Vincent, el al. “Microarray-Based Detection of 90 Antibiotic Resistance Genes of Gram-Positive Bacteria.” Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Vol. 43 (5): 2291–2302, May 2005.

5. Scheusner,D.L., et al. “Injury of Bacteria by Sanitizers.” Applied Microbiology. Vol. 21(1): 41-45, January 1971.

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