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Viral contamination of aerosol and surfaces through toilet use in health care and other settings.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The airborne spreading of enteric viruses can occur through the aerosol and droplets produced by toilet flushing. These can contaminate the surrounding environment, but few data exist to estimate the risk of exposure and infection. For this reason environmental monitoring of air and selected surfaces was carried out in 2 toilets of an office building and in 3 toilets of a hospital before and after cleaning operations.

METHODS

To reveal the presence of norovirus, enterovirus, rhinovirus, human rotavirus, and Torque teno virus and to quantify human adenovirus and bacteria counts, molecular and cultural methods were used.

RESULTS

On the whole, viruses were detected on 78% of surfaces and in 81% of aerosol. Among the researched viruses, only human adenovirus and Torque teno virus were found in both surface and air samples. In several cases the same adenovirus strain was concurrently found in all matrices. Bacterial counts were unrelated to viral presence and cleaning did not seem to substantially reduce contamination.

CONCLUSIONS

The data collected in our study confirm that toilets are an important source of viral contamination, mainly in health care settings, where disinfection can have a crucial role in preventing virus spread.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Laboratory of Hygiene and Environmental Virology, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

    ,

    Nephrology Unit, Hospital of Leghorn, Tuscany, Italy.

    Laboratory of Hygiene and Environmental Virology, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. Electronic address: annalaura.carducci@unipi.it.

    Source

    MeSH

    Aerosols
    Air Microbiology
    Bacteria
    Bacterial Load
    Environmental Microbiology
    Hospitals
    Humans
    Toilet Facilities
    Viruses

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    24818773