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Cleaning: Infection Control
Contracting Profits



Manufacturer Roundtable

Disinfecting During Cold and Flu Season

By CP Editorial Staff
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In this article, industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by building service contractors.

Should building service contractors disinfect surfaces more often during cold and flu season?


Yes, you should disinfect more often in the cold and flu season as people’s cold, flu, pneumonia and strep-throat symptoms cause them to release more infectious mucus into the indoor environment than would otherwise be the case when people are well.

However, the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease is frequent washing of hands and the prevention of hands from entering the mouth.

John B. Everitt, president, Stearns Packaging Corp., Madison, Wis.


First, the disinfectant in use should be effective against colds (rhinovirus) and flu (influenza). Many standard disinfectants do not kill rhinovirus. Then, the frequency of disinfection should consider number of people touching the surface. If a person sits at their desk all day, disinfecting their phone and computer keyboard more than once a day probably is not needed. If hundreds of people touch an elevator button or door handle, this could be disinfected up to hourly, depending on the perceived level of risk.

Peter Teska, Americas portfolio lead for infection prevention, Diversey, Sturtevant, Wis.


Disinfecting more during cold and flu seasons is not necessary unless individuals in remote proximity to one another are sick with bacteria/virus. Then it is highly recommended to disinfect frequently.

Robert Neitzel, director of operations, Big 3 Packaging, Philadelphia


With the news of the new swine flu virus, influenza A H3N2, having pandemic potential, how do I know which disinfectants to use to fight its spread?


There is no reason to switch disinfectants when a new virus is threatening the public health.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for approving kill-claims on newly isolated pathogens is so lengthy and time-consuming that the Agency posts its own list of currently registered products that it knows will kill the new virus pending the release of approved labeling; labeling that takes a year or more to obtain.

John B. Everitt, president, Stearns Packaging Corp., Madison, Wis.


EPA last year established their perspective that if a disinfectant carries an Influenza claim, they will allow companies to promote their product as killing Influenza regardless of the strain of interest. Disinfectants have not shown strain specificity, meaning that they work on some Influenza strains and not other strains. Thus there’s no value in testing against a number of additional strains beyond the basic strains common on disinfectant labels already. If the pathogen of concern is another organism, you would look to the product label to see that the disinfectant is capable of killing that organism, even if the specific strain of interest was not tested.

Peter Teska, Americas portfolio lead for infection prevention, Diversey, Sturtevant, Wis.


The best way to know if a disinfectant kills certain strains of the new swine flu virus, influenza A H3N2, etc. is by checking the label of the desired disinfectant, where it will specifically list which viruses it claims to kill.

Robert Neitzel, director of operations, Big 3 Packaging, Philadelphia
posted on: 4/13/2012




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