As a result health organizations around the world are promoting the use of alcohol based hand cleaners as well as regular hand washing.
Since the middle ages there have been religious strictures and taboos around cleaning and cleanliness, it wasn't always beleived that cleanliness was next to godliness. In fact the plague was spread as rapidly as it was due to the filth that early Christendom lived in.
It now appears that once againreligious superstitions and dogmas threaten human life on planet earth.
Staff in hospitals around the world are spreading germs and diseases by not washing their hands enough and religion is one of the factors in the problem, an international conference has been told.
"Every year the treatment and care of hundreds of millions of patients worldwide is complicated by infections acquired during health care in hospitals," said Benedetta Allegranzi, a World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant from the University of Verona in Italy.
Allegranzi told the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy that too few doctors, nurses and other hospital workers follow hygiene rules.
Cultural and religious factors "strongly influence" the lack of hand washing, she added.