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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Arizona Examines the Spread of Viruses in a Long Term Care Facility

Approximately 50 percent of norovirus cases in the United States occur in long-term care facilities; many incidences of rotavirus, sapovirus, and adenovirus also occur. A study by researchers from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the department of soil, water and environmental science tracked the movement of pathogenic viruses through a long-term care facility to determine the impact of a hygiene intervention on viral transmission. The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The coliphage MS-2 was seeded onto a staff member’s hands, and samples were collected after four hours from fomites and hands. After three consecutive days of sample collection, a 14-day hygiene intervention was implemented. Hand sanitizers, hand and face wipes, antiviral tissues, and a disinfectant spray were distributed to employees and residents. Seeding and sampling were repeated post-intervention.

Analysis of the pre- and post-intervention data was performed using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Significant reductions in the spread of MS-2 on hands (P = .0002) and fomites (P = .04) were observed postintervention, with a >99 percent average reduction of virus recovered from both hands and fomites.

Although MS-2 spread readily from hands to fomites and vice versa, the intervention reduced average MS-2 concentrations recovered from hands and fomites by up to four logs and also reduced the incidence of MS-2 recovery.

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