COVID-19 may be a new virus, but this is not the first time countries have had to address an outbreak. Norovirus, which is a highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, is a year-round issue, but annually there is a season during which instances of illness are more prevalent, typically from November to April. In the United States, norovirus infects 19-21 million people each year and is responsible for 570-800 deaths. Because it spreads so quickly and easily, it’s not uncommon for localized outbreaks to occur when large numbers of people gather.
2018 Norovirus Outbreak
In 2018, the seasonal outbreak was worse than usual in various parts of the world. Most notably, during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, hundreds of people were diagnosed with norovirus. The response, which escalated over time, aimed to reduce the spread of the virus with measures taken such as:
- Distributing hand sanitizer at events
- Conducting hygiene inspections at restaurants and accommodations
- Testing drinking water
- Quarantining 1,200 security staff
- Establishing limited entrances to Athlete’s Village
- Quickly disseminating information about the virus and how to avoid it
Like all seasonal outbreaks of norovirus, this one eventually ran its course, and the quick response helped limit the number of cases that emerged.
How Is Norovirus Transmitted?
According to the CDC, norovirus is transmitted through:
- Coming into contact with an infected individual
- Ingesting contaminated food or beverages
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth
Because it can be transmitted through contaminated food, prevention measures include properly preparing and cooking food and not cooking for others when infected.
How Long Does Norovirus Live on Surfaces?
Norovirus can live on surfaces for days or even weeks, making it possible to infect people who touch those surfaces and then touch their mouths with unwashed hands. Norovirus is also resistant to some types of disinfectants, so it’s important to use an appropriate product when disinfecting an area with known exposure. The EPA maintains a list of products that are effective against norovirus.
As with COVID-19, the CDC recommends frequently washing hands to reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus from contaminated surfaces. It’s also worth noting that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not always effective against norovirus, which is why hand-washing is strongly recommended. Of course, when soap and water are not available, it’s always a good idea to use a hand sanitizer.
How Can D7 Be Used to Combat Norovirus?
D7 is on the list of EPA-recommended products effective against norovirus. The product uses a combination of surfactants (soap), hydrogen peroxide, and other ingredients to kill viruses at the DNA and RNA levels. The surfactants soften the cell walls of the microorganisms, which allows the hydrogen peroxide to penetrate to the interior for a complete kill.
D7 also qualifies for emerging viral pathogen claims per the EPA’s Guidance to Registrants: Process for Making Claims Against Emerging Viral Pathogens not on EPA-Registered Labels, when used in accordance with the appropriate use directions. D7 qualifies for emerging pathogen claims against the following viral categories: enveloped viruses and large, non-enveloped viruses. Therefore, D7 can be used against coronavirus on surfaces when used in accordance with the directions for use against norovirus on hard, non-porous surfaces. Refer to the CDC website for additional information.
Stay United Against Outbreaks
Combatting the current outbreak of coronavirus requires a global team effort. In addition to self-isolating to prevent the spread of the virus, healthcare facilities and other public places that provide essential services must regularly disinfect to remove coronavirus on surfaces, especially those that are frequently touched. D7 is here to help you create and implement a plan to help reduce the risk of spread through contaminated surfaces. To learn more about how D7 can be used to help disinfect surfaces in all types of facilities, ask us more about coronavirus.