Human coronaviruses1 are common throughout the world. Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness. Two newer human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have been known to cause severe illness. A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes a respiratory infection called COVID-19, emerged in 2019. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. Since its emergence, this virus has resulted in hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases globally. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the situation a pandemic because the disease has spread over many countries and continents and affects a large percent of the population. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working closely with state health departments and healthcare facilities on disease testing, surveillance, contact tracing, and interim guidance for clinicians on identifying, containing and treating COVID-19 infections.
What is COVID-19?2
What are the healthcare infection control precautions for COVID-19 as it relates to hand hygiene and environmental hygiene?3
Although the transmission dynamics have yet to be fully determined, CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to patients under investigation for COVID-19:
What hand hygiene products are effective against COVID-19?
Washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid transmission of emerging pathogens. The World Health Organization recommends performing hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available. The US Food and Drug Administration regulates claims on both medicated, antimicrobial soaps and on alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Claims related to efficacy against viruses are not allowed on any medicated, antimicrobial soaps nor on any alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the United States.
What disinfectants are effective against COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2. The EPA has developed the “Guidance to Registrants: Process for making claims against emerging viral pathogens not on EPA-registered disinfectant labels”.6 This document provides general guidance to disinfectant manufacturers and addresses public concerns on a process that can be used to identify effective disinfectants for use against emerging viral pathogens. It permits manufacturers to make limited claims about their product’s efficacy against such pathogens once the EPA confirms the product meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the guidance. In addition, the EPA has published List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.7 See graphic below which shows how to know if a product is approved for use against COVID-19.
In addition, the table below lists Ecolab products that meet the criteria for claims against emerging viral pathogens and therefore can be used against COVID-19 when used in accordance with the directions for use against the listed supporting virus on hard, non-porous surfaces. Contact your Ecolab Account Executive for additional product information.
DAZO™ fluorescent marker is an objective method to evaluate the thoroughness of the cleaning process, rather than the presence of organic material or pathogens.5 Other environmental monitoring methods intended to measure organic load (e.g. ATP)6 or bacterial burden (e.g. bacterial cultures) do not detect viruses. Even with the best EVS staff in the world, without an effective environmental hygiene monitoring tool such as DAZO fluorescent marker, there is no way to determine the effectiveness of their cleaning practices.
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