The World Federation of Building Service Contractors has responded to UK Chief Medical Officer’s request to add the threat of infections resistant to antibiotics to the UK risk register of civil emergencies.

Agreeing that the shortage of antibiotics could pose a serious threat to public safety, Executive vice-President, Andrew Large said: “The UK Chief Medical Officer’s request underlines the important part that cleaning plays in disease prevention. Strict hygiene standards are generally understood as essential in hospitals, but outside in schools, offices and on public transport they are not considered as necessary.”

Drawing attention to the WFBSC’s ongoing research into cleaning for health, Andrew added: “Cleaning is our first defense against disease. Strict hand washing combined with clean public spaces can slow and indeed halt the spread of infection. I urge all governments to invest in the cleaning of our public spaces sooner rather than later.”

In the first wave of any pandemic, it’s very unlikely that a specific vaccination would be ready to inoculate the public, and good habitual cleaning practices will be play a vital role in disease prevention. The Cleaning for Health project focuses on best practice for integrating hospital cleaning standards into offices, schools, transport networks and other public spaces. The project is also reviewing the scientific literature on disinfectant products so as to provide up to date advice on the most suitable chemicals for frequent use.

To find out more about the project, please visit the Cleaning for Health website.