Diligence Needed to Keep Surfaces Germ-Free.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a study at Ohio State University, Columbus, suggests that even organized efforts to clean surfaces can fall short, a reminder for us all that keeping our surroundings clean may require some additional work.

'The concept of infectious diseases is around us all the time, but now it's more important than ever to take steps to protect ourselves," says senior study author Jason Stull, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine.

For the current work, Stull and colleagues tagged surfaces of an animal veterinary practice daily with a fluorescent dye visible only under black light. They checked tagged surfaces 24 hours later to see if the marks were showing. Surfaces were considered cleaned if the dye was completely removed. They assessed almost 5,000 surfaces daily over the course of the five-week study. On average, 50% of surfaces were cleaned, with broad variations by type of surface and hospital location. The human-touch surfaces were the least likely to be cleaned.

"Plenty of industries and groups outside of human health care have ramped up their efforts to clean and disinfect common-touch surfaces. The take-home messages from our study can have important parallels for others, such as other veterinary clinics, but also groups such as grocery stores.

"Our study also highlights that, despite our best efforts, 100% cleaning and disinfection is unlikely to occur. This is important to remember, as regardless of where you visit, it's also best to assume surfaces may be contaminated--and before you come back into your home, you should...

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