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Norovirus in Healthcare

Mike Mann's picture

Don’t disregard a hand sanitizer that works

Rubs are chastised for their ineffectiveness on norovirus yet research has identified one that proves the critics wrong. Formulation and process matters. Where the threat level of norovirus rises, caregivers may choose one or both these options.

First, the formulation. It’s trade name is Purell - 481. This formula includes synergists that make the same level of alcohol effective on norovirus.

Now, the process variations for special situations:
a. Want to be double-sure, use two dispenses. This will slow the dry time but still be faster and more convenient than a soap-water wash.
b. Add friction with the RubScub method. Some refer to this protocol as “SaniOnce.”
c. How about engaging the bed-ridden in the norovirus control.

Hand sanitizers/rubs are often misused by minimizing the dose. This cuts the effectiveness and endangers patients and residents.

Don’t forget the kitchens when it comes to norovirus. Culinary is generally out of the observational monitoring network of handwashing. This makes them prime candidates for the newly available electronic handwashing verification specifically designed for foodservice.

Myths and Misconceptions*

According to the CDC, norovirus may be responsible for the vast majority of gastroenteritis cases in the USA each year-TRUE

A vaccine for norovirus prevention was recently developed and is currently being tested-FALSE

Numerous outbreaks of norovirus have been traced to food handling and fecal-hand contamination-TRUE

In a recent study published in AJIC (American Journal of Infection Control) norovirus was identified as the pathogen most often responsible for shutdown/closure of a hospital unit/department-TRUE

* Republished with author's permission.