Bacterial Contamination of Antiseptics, Disinfectants, and Hand Hygiene Products Used in Healthcare Settings in Low- and Middle-Income Countries—A Systematic Review

Palpouguini Lompo, Esenam Agbobli, Anne-Sophie Heroes, Bea Van den Poel, Vera Kühne, Gutemberg Kpossou, Adama Zida, Halidou Tinto, Dissou Affolabi, Jan Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


We conducted a systematic review of healthcare-associated outbreaks and cross-sectional surveys related to the contamination of antiseptics, disinfectants, and hand hygiene products in healthcare settings in low- and middle-income countries (PROSPERO CRD42021266271). Risk of bias was assessed by selected items of the ORION and MICRO checklists. From 1977 onwards, 13 outbreaks and 25 cross-sectional surveys were found: 20 from Asia and 13 from Africa. Products most associated with outbreaks were water-based chlorhexidine, chlorhexidine-quaternary ammonium compound combinations (7/13), and liquid soap products (4/13). Enterobacterales (including multidrug-resistant Enterobacter cloacae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Serratia marcescens) and non-fermentative Gram-negative rods were found in 5 and 7 outbreaks and in 34.1% and 42.6% of 164 isolates, respectively, from cross-sectional surveys. Risk factors included preparation (place, utensils, or tap water high and incorrect dilutions), containers (reused, recycled, or inadequate reprocessing), and practices (topping-up or too long use). Potential biases were microbiological methods (neutralizers) and incomplete description of products’ identity, selection, and denominators. External validity was compromised by low representativeness for remote rural settings and low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Outstanding issues were water quality, biofilm control, field-adapted containers and reprocessing, in-country production, healthcare providers’ practices, and the role of bar soap. A list of “best practices” to mitigate product contamination was compiled.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)93-124
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • B230-bacteriology

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