Controlling a Norovirus outbreak

Whatever the setting, schools, coach travel, hotels, care homes, or child nurseries, controlling a potential outbreak requires policies, procedures, training and equipment. Immediate safe clean up of any body fluids (vomit, urine, feces, or blood) is the first part of controlling a viral outbreak of Norovirus. It is safe to always assume body fluids contain infections. The cleaning chemicals used to destroy the virus outside of the body also need to be proven effective against Norovirus while being safe to use on all surfaces. The need to train staff to recognize an outbreak and the appointment of outbreak managers, coordinators and clean up teams mean once an outbreak is suspected an action plan can be quickly actioned and reduce the risk of cross infection. The methods used to clean can play an important roll in the control of Norovirus outbreaks. Paying attention to frequently touched surfaces and bio-fogging can reduce the risk of cross infection and kill the virus. 

All body fluids have the potential to be infectious

  • Safe and effective clean up of body fluid spillages, including blood, vomit & urine.
  • Written Body Fluid Spillage clean up Procedure.
  • High quality personal protective equipment.
  • 100% Disposable Infection Controlled Body fluid Spillage Kits.
  • Non Hazardous, Non Corrosive, Non flammable disinfection.

Transmission of Norovirus from surfaces
The virus can be active outside a host (person) on surfaces such as counters, toilets, sinks, doorknobs and even clothing. It is unknown exactly how long the virus can live on such surfaces, as this depends on the number of viral particles, temperature, and the nature of the environment. However, you can't catch anything by just touching a doorknob. You would have to put your hand into your mouth or on your nose afterward. Therefore, hand-washing is imperative to prevention of transmission.

The main reason for all the Norovirus outbreaks is poor hygiene, i.e., people defecating and not washing hands afterward, then contaminating surfaces or foods. 

Clostridium Difficile (C. diff)

How Do You Get It?

C. diff bacteria actually exists all around us. It’s in the air, water, soil, and in the feces of humans and animals. Many people have the bacteria in their intestines and never have any symptoms.The bacteria is often spread in health care facilities, like hospitals or nursing homes, where workers are more likely to come into contact with it, and then with patients or residents. You can also become infected if you touch clothing, sheets, or other surfaces that have come in contact with feces and then touch your mouth or nose.

Who's at risk?

Older adults in health care facilities are most at risk, especially if they’re taking antibiotic. That’s because the human body contains thousands of different types of bacteria -- some good, some bad. If the antibiotics kill enough healthy bacteria, the ones that cause C. diff could grow unchecked and make you sick.


C. diff spores surviving for a long time on objects and surfaces, play a role in the spread of C. diff infections (CDI).  Appropriate cleaning and disinfection of the environment and equipment is an essential strategy for reducing CDI. Spores can be found throughout a room like light switches, door knobs, and bedside tables. Nursing homes should have educational programs, policies and procedures that outline schedules and responsibilities for cleaning practices. Nursing homes should monitor adherence to procedures, evaluate effectiveness of cleaning, and keep staff informed of the results.  



Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases are caused by pathogens passed from one human to another. Pathogens are viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal. Methods of transmission include mucus, blood, breath, saliva and sexual contact. Contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, counter tops and playground equipment, provide a medium for passing disease from one human to another.

Common Cold

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases states that as of 2007, Americans have an estimated 1 billion colds each year. The age group most susceptible to repeated colds is children. People older than 60 average less than one cold a year. The common cold is a viral infection.  


Viral gastroenteritis is a highly contagious disease spread by contact, such as sharing food or eating and drinking from contaminated utensils. Depending on the specific virus, gastroenteritis lasts from one to two days or up to 10 days. Two known causes of viral gastroenteritis are rotavirus and norovirus.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a communicable disease caused by group A streptococci bacteria. KidsHealth states that teens are particularly susceptible to strep throat during the school year. Strep throat bacteria spread easily by sneezing, coughing or shaking hands. A rapid strep test in the doctor's office will confirm whether the symptoms are because of strep throat or a viral sore throat.

Pink Eye

Pink eye is a common name for a highly contagious form of bacterial or viral conjunctivitis. The virus that causes the common cold causes viral pink eye. Staphylococcus or streptococcus cause bacterial pink eye. To reduce the chances for spreading pink eye, avoid touching the infected eye, wash your hands frequently and avoid reusing towels or washcloths in contact with the eye.

Fifth Disease

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia states that fifth disease, a human parvovirus, is most common among children and spreads through direct contact with nasal and throat discharge. Exanthem, a skin rash or eruption, appears at onset of the disease. Fifth disease spreads easily because it is contagious before symptoms of the rash appear.


Rotavirus is a highly contagious infection that affects the gastrointestinal system of children. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever and watery diarrhea. Rotavirus is a noted problem in daycare facilities. The virus spreads from the stool of infected individuals. Poor hand washing technique following toilet use easily spreads the rotavirus.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly communicable disease that affects all ages. The symptoms of whooping cough include respiratory infection, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough that progresses to an uncontrollable cough with a high-pitched whoop. 

Sick Building Syndrome

Causes of Sick Building Syndrome

  • Biological Pollutants as well as the chemical pollutants described above, various biological contaminants often contribute to cases of sick building syndrome. In fact biological factors are reported to be behind the majority of cases. These biological pollutants can cause illness through three different mechanisms:

  1. Infection
  2. Allergy/Hypersensitivity
  3. Toxicosis - symptoms caused by toxins produced by micro-organisms e.g. mycotoxins produced by mold/fungi

There are many sources of biological pollution that can affect a building and many reasons why a building might become contaminated and cause illness in its occupants. The following are the main sources of this form of pollution:

  • Toxic Black Mold - is reported to be the leading cause of sick building syndrome and building related illness. Mold grows rapidly in warm and damp environments. If the indoor environment is too humid or if water damage occurs through leaks or rising damp, mold growth is very likely to occur.
  • Viruses & Bacteria - are common in every building, especially high occupancy buildings such as offices and schools. These micro-organisms can make a significant contribution to causing SBS. They become increasingly problematic if humidity levels are either too low or too high, as a result of how their growth is affected and the fact that our defenses against them are also affected by humidity levels.
  • Dust Mites - are highly allergenic and thrive on the constant supply of shed human skin cells that accumulate in carpeting, soft furnishings, and other areas. Like mold and bacteria, dust mites like the warm and relatively humid environment that we usually provide in our buildings.
  • Pollen - is another allergy causing substance that can accumulate in a building if proper ventilation and filtering is not maintained. Pollens from various trees and plants can be troublesome for a great number of people. Aside from being carried on breezes through open doors or windows, pollens can also be brought indoors on the occupants shoes and clothing.
  • Insect Body Parts - although not well known are especially potent allergens for some people. Cockroach allergens are particularly troublesome allergens and are commonly implicated as contributors to sick building syndrome. Usually become a problem only when sanitation is poor. The above are collectively known as bioaerosols. The common definition of a bioaerosol is any extremely small living organism or fragment of living things suspended in the air. They cannot be seen without a magnifying glass or microscope. Of course when a large growth of mold occurs, it does then become visible to the naked eye.



Fogging for the Disinfection of Food Processing Factories & Equipment

  • Disinfectants are commonly applied as fogs in the chilled food industry
  • Recent research has shown that fogging is effective in reducing the number of organisms on upward-facing surfaces but, in general, it is not effective on vertical or downward-facing surfaces.
  • Fogging also reduces the number of viable airborn organisms, although the reason for this decrease is not understood.
  • Numerical models of the dispersion of airborn particles have been used to simulate the fogging process
  • These models, with supporting experiments showed that fogs should be most effective when the median diameter of the fog droplets lies between 10 and 20 um.
  • Droplets in this size range disperse well and settle within about 45 min. This gives good coverage and the fog clears from the air quickly enough not to pose major disruption to factory operations.