In case you haven’t already heard, there’s an outbreak of norovirus in Utah County and Salt Lake County schools. More than 600 kids have already been reported ill and the outbreak has closed at least six schools. The spread of norovirus can happen quickly, and it’s highly contagious and can infect anyone, which is why preventing the spread is imperative.
Norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastrointestinal illness in the U.S. and can persist on environmental surfaces, like desks and cafeteria tables, for days and it takes as few as 1-10 particles to infect a person.
Although handwashing is key, cleaning is also important. It starts with simple measures at home, including the use of bleach to keep your family and children healthy. Additionally, prevention is critical in commercial settings. The CDC recommends disinfection with bleach or another EPA-registered disinfectant that is approved to kill norovirus.
To help head off the outbreak, Clorox is trying to educate the public and shares the following prevention measures.
Prevention in the Home
- Always wash your hands carefully with soap and water, notably:
- After using the toilet or changing diapers
- Before eating, preparing, or handling food
- Always clean food thoroughly – especially fruits and vegetables –before eating them
- Do not prepare food for yourself or others if you are sick
- Always clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces (such as kitchen countertops or bathroom sinks) by doing the following:
- Use 1/2 cup of Clorox® Regular Bleach with CLOROMAX™ in 3/4 gallon of water
- Thoroughly wet surface with the solution and allow it to remain on the surface for 5 minutes
- Rinse with clean water and dry
Prevention in Commercial Settings
In commercial settings, once an outbreak occurs it can be difficult to contain and costly, so it is important for advanced planning and having a well thought out institutional outbreak control plan that can be rapidly mobilized and deployed when the need arises. This includes:
- Training of staff
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces
- Proper hand washing protocols for both staff and patrons
The CDC recommends disinfection with bleach or another U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant that is approved to kill norovirus such as hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants.
Commercial cleaning products are specifically designed for professionals’ use and with the prevention of outbreaks in mind, so facility manages need to ensure they are selecting professional products such as Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Clean-Up® Disinfectant Cleaner with Bleach or Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox®Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaners.
The Clorox® Total 360® System provides the coverage school districts need by combining patented electrostatic technology with Clorox® disinfecting and sanitizing solutions they can trust, enabling schools to carry out quick and comprehensive cleanings with superior surface coverage. The system works by atomizing the Clorox® disinfecting or sanitizing solution and delivering a flow of charged particles that are attracted to surfaces with a force stronger than gravity. It has a claim for a 2-minute kill time for norovirus – see here.
More information on norovirus and how to prevent its spread in commercial settings is available online here.