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Infection Control

Putting The Nix On Norovirus

March 03, 2011
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The U.S. has seen multiple outbreaks of norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus more commonly called the "stomach bug."

This nasty virus not only causes unpleasant symptoms, but it is also easily transmitted to others through touching infected surfaces, eating contaminated food or by having direct contact with a contaminated individual.

In health care facilities, outbreaks of norovirus are especially difficult to contain and control once the facility is contaminated.

Outbreaks can last for months, and the illness can be more severe for hospitalized or nursing home patients.

Thus, maintaining a proactive disinfecting protocol against norovirus is extremely important for all health care facilities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using bleach on hard, non-porous surfaces to control norovirus outbreaks.

Norovirus Prevention Tips From The CDC:

  • Practice proper hand hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers — and always before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers — those containing at least 62 percent ethanol — may be a helpful addition to handwashing, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.

  • Take care in the kitchen: Carefully wash fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

  • Do not prepare food while infected: People who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for three days after they recover from their illness.

  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces: After an episode of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based cleaner as directed o the product label or a solution made by adding five to 25 tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water.

  • Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle soiled items carefully — without agitating them — to avoid spreading the virus. They should be laundered with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.

Hank Mercier is the marketing manager of health care for The Clorox Company''s Professional products division. Mercier has been with Clorox for six years. For more information about Clorox Professional''s products, visit:

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