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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1994 Dec;15(12):751-6.

Interruption of rotavirus spread through chemical disinfection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



Rotaviruses, which are among the most important infectious causes of acute diarrhea, frequently cause outbreaks in hospitals, daycare centers, schools, and nursing homes. These viruses can remain viable on inanimate surfaces for many days and infectious rotavirus particles have been recovered from hands and a variety of surfaces and objects. Casual contact can lead to the transfer of these viruses from contaminated to clean surfaces. Therefore, animate and inanimate surfaces may play a complementary role in the spread of these viruses.


In this study, we compared the capacity of a disinfectant spray (0.1% o-phenylphenol and 79% ethanol), a domestic bleach (6% sodium hypochlorite diluted to give 800 ppm free chlorine), a quarternary ammonium (quat)-based product (7.05% quat diluted 1:128 in tap water), and a phenol-based product (14.7% phenol diluted 1:256 in tap water) to interrupt the transfer of a human rotavirus (DS-1) from stainless steel disks to fingerpads of volunteers with a 10-second contact at a pressure of 1 kg/cm2.


Each disk received a 10 microL inoculum containing 1.0 x 10(4) to 7.0 x 10(4) plaque-forming units (PFU) of the virus suspended in 10% feces. The inoculum was dried for 1 hour and overlaid with 20 microL of either tap water or the test product.


A 10-minute exposure to tap water reduced the virus titer by 52.3% +/- 11.7%. The disinfectant spray was able to reduce virus infectivity by > 99.99% after a contact of 3 to 10 minutes. The loss in virus infectivity after a 10-minute treatment with the quat was almost the same (54.7% +/- 17.8%) as seen with tap water. The activities of the bleach and the phenolic were very similar with losses in PFU of 97.9% +/- 0.4% and 95% +/- 5.36%, respectively. No detectable virus was transferred to fingerpads from disks treated with disinfectant spray, the bleach, and the phenolic. Contact of the fingerpads with tap water- or quat-treated disks resulted in the transfer of 5.6% +/- 1.1% and 7.6% +/- 2.5% of the remaining infectious virus, respectively.


These findings emphasize the care needed in the selection of environmental surface disinfectants in preventing the spread of rotaviral infections.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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