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The importance of disinfection services for eliminating COVID-19

China Rentokil Initial Covid-19

Many countries have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by enforcing a lockdown to break the chain of infection and reduce its spread to avoid overwhelming health services. However, many vital services and businesses have to keep functioning, so it’s essential that they take every precaution to protect the people who use their premises, including their employees, visitors and members of the public.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease, rapidly spreading from one city in China in December 2019 to 196 countries and territories over three months. As of yet (April 2020), there’s no vaccine and no specific treatment. The main advice to prevent COVID-19 is to practise stringent hygiene measures – especially hand and respiratory hygiene – and to maintain social distancing in the following ways.

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or flexed elbow Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with other people — keep at least 2m away
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch

How is coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 is spread by coughing or sneezing, contact with other bodily fluids or from touching contaminated surfaces. When you cough or sneeze, you emit infected droplets of mucus or saliva from your respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, lungs) that can contain the virus particles. These droplets spread through the air to people close by – who then breathe them in – and settle on surfaces around the infected person.

China Rentokil Initial Covid-19

Several studies have shown that people who are infected and don’t show any symptoms (asymptomatic) can carry the virus in their upper respiratory tract and transmit the virus to others. Buildings may need to be disinfected even when visibly healthy people have been on the premises and show symptoms a day or two later.

Protecting key touchpoints against coronavirus

Poor hand hygiene is a particular problem because people frequently cough and sneeze into their hands or touch their mouth or nose, providing a ready means to spread the virus to everything they touch. The virus can be transferred to other people when they touch a contaminated surface and then their mouth, nose or eyes.

China Rentokil Initial Covid-19

There are many key touchpoints that people come into contact with in hospitals, schools, care homes, offices, on public transport and in the home, including door handles, kitchen surfaces, dining surfaces, taps, kettles, toilet flush handles or buttons, stair rails, handrails, grab handles and grab rails. These will all need cleaning and disinfecting with approved products to ensure protection from infection.

Risk from bodily fluids

Apart from fluids from the respiratory tract, other bodily fluids that include blood and faecal matter can carry viruses and, therefore, also pose a significant health risk. Research has already shown that the novel coronavirus – the SARS CoV-2 virus – can actively replicate in the gastrointestinal tract. It was found to be present in the faeces of half of patients in one study — and for an average of 11 days after it was no longer detected in their respiratory tract.

Although no confirmed cases of virus transmission via the faecal-oral route have been reported for COVID-19 yet, there were confirmed cases for the closely related SARS virus (SARS CoV) during the 2003 outbreak. A Hong Kong housing block was found to have defects in the waste water plumbing system that caused 342 confirmed cases of infection and 42 deaths. The virus was spread in droplets passing through empty U-bends in bathrooms and carried to different rooms in residents’ flats in the air flow.

China Rentokil Initial Covid-19

Risk from toilet sneeze

Toilet ‘sneeze’ – the plume of droplets created by flushing – is a well-known cause of the spread of microorganisms around a washroom. Microorganisms from the toilet bowl can settle on surfaces such as the seat, floor, walls, unprotected tissue, cubicle and washroom door handles, wash basins, taps and soap dispensers.

China Rentokil Initial Covid-19

Large numbers of bacteria and viruses remain in the toilet bowl after flushing as well due to absorption by the porcelain surface. Regular cleaning and use of disinfectants in the flush water will help to reduce the spread of germs around the washroom.

Our specially formulated cleaning solution will give extra peace of mind to washroom users.

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How to decontaminate coronavirus

During this epidemic, outbreaks of the coronavirus can happen at any time in hospitals, primary care facilities, schools, care homes, places of work, cruise ships, hotels, prisons and housing blocks. Other places where large numbers of people gather, such as sports stadiums, theatres, cinemas and shopping centres, can also become contaminated and risk spreading the virus to large numbers of people who will then disperse over a large geographic area.

It’s vital to safely decontaminate an area after an incident involving an infected person or contamination with biohazardous materials or waste. Facilities Managers should take quick action to halt the spread of the virus to eliminate the risk of infection of others and to prevent the number of cases overwhelming healthcare systems. Every delay increases the rate of exponential growth in infections.

Cleaning and disinfection treatments

Cleaning surfaces and disinfecting them is the best practice for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in buildings. A disinfection service involves a survey of the site first, which provides a site-specific risk assessment, method statement and safe operating procedures.

The site is then manually disinfected by specialists – wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and using specialist equipment and an approved, high-level surface disinfectant – going through the contaminated rooms and areas and cleaning all the key touchpoints.

Areas contaminated with bodily fluids such as blood, urine, vomit and human faeces will need specialist cleaning as these fluids can seep into porous materials and areas that are difficult to detect for people without specialist training. Standard cleaning methods are unlikely to ensure decontamination – for instance, traditional spray-and-wipe methods can often miss around 50% of surfaces.

Fogging

Manual methods are the first choice to disinfect surfaces, but, for combating airborne pathogens and disinfecting large areas that require rapid re-entry of treated areas, fogging is an ideal solution.

Ultra-low volume (ULV) disinfection fogging involves using a fogger machine to generate a cloud of extremely small droplets of a disinfectant liquid. The application of disinfectants and biocides using this method can significantly reduce the number of pathogens on surfaces and in the air.

The droplets settle under, on top of and on the sides of many objects and inaccessible areas that may be difficult or not possible to reach when using conventional cleaning methods. Fogging also reaches a wider range of surfaces than manual cleaning, including textiles.

Rapid ULV fogging and disinfection allows the treatment of large areas in a short space of time to help to quickly break the chain of infection.

Disinfection is key

Personal hygiene and isolation are the front line of controlling the coronavirus pandemic to break the chain of infection. The virus can remain on surfaces up to several days, however, creating a risk to other people using buildings.

For Facilities Managers or business owners looking to make contaminated (or potentially contaminated) areas safe again, cleaning and disinfecting are essential measures. Rentokil Initial’s professional disinfection services have the techniques, tools and most appropriate products to disinfect areas quickly and return them to normal use to get your organisation operational again.


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