Health & Wellness

Study: Common Viruses Spread Fast In Busy Buildings

Amidst the worldwide scare of the Ebola virus outbreak, a new study revealed that a common virus could spread in only a matter of hours inside a building full of people.

phone receiver virus spread officeResearchers from the University of Arizona simulated the spread of a virus — a noroviruses in particular — from surfaces that are commonly touched, and monitored the presence of the said virus on other parts of the building. An inert tracer virus was used in place of the norovirus, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis.

Results of the study showed that traces of the tracer virus was found in up to 60 percent of the people inside the building in a matter of 2 to 4 hours. Virus traces were found on several areas where people usually touch surfaces: light switches, push buttons, door knobs, phone receivers, computer peripherals, and coffee pots.

While the study showed the speed of virus spread inside a building facility, the study suggests a very simple yet effective solution: use disinfectants with quaternary ammonium compounds (QUAT). Lead study author Charles Gerba, who works as professor at the university’s Microbiology & Environmental Sciences department, discussed the effectiveness of QUAT-based disinfectant products. “Using disinfecting wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds registered by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as effective against viruses like norovirus and flu, along with hand hygiene, reduced virus spread by 80-99%,” Gerba said in a news item.

Noroviruses are notorious for afflicting stomach flu especially in schools, hospitals, and office buildings. In fact, this disease may cause a particular facility to be shut down and closed until the virus has been eliminated.


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