Cleaning professionals have little control over superbugs that enter a building from the outside — especially when people are asymptomatic. For this reason, educating customers to cover coughs and sneezes, and follow good hand hygiene are as important as cleaning when it comes to preventing the spread of infection. Instruct management to foster a work environment that encourages employees to stay home when sick.

"Monitoring the facility and communicating with staff is essential," says Solomon. "If working with a school, for example, encourage them to have ongoing communication between nursing staff and facility maintenance to share information if there's a potential outbreak or absenteeism is on the rise."

In the event of a confirmed case or outbreak, jan/san distributors should train customers to first identify what type of antibiotic-resistant infection they are dealing with. Next, be a resource to help identify the appropriate cleaning procedures and chemicals necessary to address that infection.

"Review the bottles and make sure they have the appropriate claims on them for the specific superbug or outbreak workers are trying to kill," says Solomon. "For instance, do you need a fungicide to kill C.diff, which is one of the most challenging of all the superbugs to kill? Or are you dealing with a virus that requires a lower-level disinfection claim?"

Although facilities are making strides in disinfecting high-touch surfaces, the proliferation of touchscreens in the community has increased routes of infection.

"We're doing a study on touchscreens, and we've observed some of the worst ones in self-checkout lines at grocery stores," says Gerba. "We found just about every HAI organism present, including C.diff, MRSA and VRE."

Additionally, Gerba predicts that our lifestyles and work habits will support the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections in the future.

"We're a generation that spends more time indoors than any other generation in history," he says. "As superbugs start evolving, we're giving them the opportunity to move rapidly through the general population."

Fortunately, we are also a generation equipped with the knowledge and technology to stop their advance.

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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