As you may have heard here in MN we have had two norovirus outbreaks in the twin cities this month. The first was at a Caribou Coffee in Brooklyn Park. The next was at the VA in Minneapolis. So we are ramping up disinfection in our buildings. Here are a couple tips for individuals, facilities, hospitals and our senior housing clients.
Norovirus Quick Tips
Norovirus is highly contagious and can infect anyone.
- There are an estimated 23 million norovirus cases each year.
- Norovirus accounts for 65% of ward closures and 18.2% of all infection outbreaks.*
- A norovirus outbreak can cost a facility $65,000.
- Norovirus is the most common cause of acute infectious gastroenteritis in the U.S.
Protect yourself from norovirus. Wash your hands often. Cook shellfish to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When you are sick, don’t prepare food or care for others. Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly. After vomiting or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect surfaces and wash soiled laundry.
Prevention: Hand Hygiene & Surface Disinfection
A recent study found increased hand hygiene and surface disinfection protocols greatly reduced the financial burden norovirus has on a facility: Increasing surface disinfection following the detection of a single case of norovirus was found to offset costs by as much as: $40,040When five cases of norovirus were detected, cost reduction increased to as much as $99,363. Increasing hand hygiene after the detection of a single case of norovirus was found to offset costs by up to: $21,394 Implementing similar procedures following the detection of five norovirus cases reduced costs by upwards of $104,273.Both influenza and norovirus circulate in the community during winter months. Annual seasonal influenza epidemics have an enormous impact on the U.S. population and regional outbreaks of norovirus can also exact a significant toll. Both influenza and norovirus can present significant challenges to hospitals in terms of handling and treating the surge of infected patients and the potential for nosocomial outbreaks of disease. Facilities can incur increased costs during outbreaks including expenses related to isolation precautions,supplemental environmental cleaning, personal protective equipment and increased sick time and staffing shortfalls. These costs can be offset by preventive influenza vaccinations, advanced planning and having well thought-out institutional control programs that can be rapidly deployed when the need arises.
SURFACE DISINFECTION BEST PRACTICES
– Clean visibly soiled surfaces with a detergent prior to disinfection with bleach or another U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered
disinfectant that is approved to kill influenza and norovirus.
– Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution (if necessary), application and contact time.
– Apply an EPA-registered disinfectant to the surface and ensure the surface remains wet for the duration of the manufacturer-recommended contact time.
– Perform routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched environmental surfaces and equipment such as toilets, faucets, hand/bed rails, telephones, door handles, computer equipment and kitchen preparation surfaces.
– Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection during outbreaks. During norovirus outbreaks, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected three times daily.
– Always clean and disinfect reusable equipment such as stethoscopes between each patient use.
– Use Standard Precautions for handling soiled patient-service items or linens, including the use of appropriate PPE (e.g., gloves and gowns) to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. Handle soiled linens carefully to avoid dispersal of norovirus particles.
– Launder privacy curtains regularly according to your facility’s protocol (e.g., when visibly soiled, patient discharge/transfer). Also consider use of an appropriate EPA-registered product to kill microorganisms on soft surfaces between launderings.
– Monitor and review the above practices regularly to ensure staff compliance.
Preventing Inﬂuenza & Norovirus:
ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANING CHECKLIST
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect these frequently-touched surfaces in patients’ rooms and bathroomswith bleach or another EPA-registered disinfectant with inﬂuenza and norovirus kill claims:
- Door knobs/handles and surfaces
- Bed rails
- Call button
- Overbed table & drawer
- Light switches
- Furniture (ensure product compatibility with surfaces)
- Chair arms & seats
- Window sills
- Bedside commode
- Medical equipment (e.g., IV controls)
- Sink and faucet
- Bathroom handrails
- Toilet surface, seat & handle
Thanks for reading. Please post any comments or questions:)