PURPOSE: We evaluated patients' hands as a possible vector for the spread of epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. METHODS: The hands and conjunctivas of 26 patients with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis and the hands of 26 uninfected control patients were cultured for infectious adenovirus. RESULTS: In 12 (46%) of 26 patients with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, cultures from the hands were positive for adenovirus, whereas cultures from the hands of all uninfected control patients were negative. CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous coinfection of patients' hands and eyes with adenovirus may contribute to office epidemics. Ophthalmologists and coworkers should not shake the hands of patients suspected of having epidemic keratoconjunctivitis unless properly gloved.
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