H1N1-A (Swine Flu) Facts
According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swine flu is a respiratory disease typically found in pigs that is caused by type A influenza (H1N1) virus. The H1N1 virus apparently responsible for the current swine flu outbreak is an influenza type A virus. Although these viruses mutate rapidly, EPA believes, based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009-H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains. Independent laboratory tests have shown that use of Microban Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate and Microban Germicidal Cleaner enables compliance with recommendations made by the CDC for infection control and care of patients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 Virus.
Q: Where do these current human cases of swine flu stem from?
A: According to the CDC, human infections with swine influenza A (H1N1) were first reported in late March/early April 2009 in Southern California and San Antonio, Texas.
Q: Is the current strain of swine flu contagious?
A: Yes, the CDC has determined that this swine flu strain is contagious and can spread from human to human.
Q: How does swine flu spread?
A: It has yet to be determined how exactly the current strain of swine flu is spreading, but flu is normally spread through two different mechanisms:
- Air transmission via droplets expelled from the mouth when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets remain airborne for some time and can then be inhaled by another person.
- Droplets from an infected person will eventually make contact with environmental surfaces (such as table tops or computer keyboards). The virus can then be spread from those surfaces if another person touches the contaminated surface and then touches his or her own eyes, mouth, or nose before washing his or her hands.
It follows then that proper hygiene routines can help prevent the spread of illness.
Q: How can you protect against swine flu?
A: Like all viruses, the best way to help prevent the spread of infection is to follow proper hygiene routines. These include routines recommended by the CDC Ounce of Prevention Initiative:
Wash your hands: Thoroughly wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water for 20 seconds, making sure to scrub underneath the nails and the back of the hands. If soap is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Disinfect surfaces: Regularly disinfect the frequently-touched surfaces with a disinfectant such as Microban Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate and Microban Germicidal Cleaner to prevent viruses from spreading from surfaces to people. CDC recommends normal housekeeping and disinfection procedures for prevention.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And if you yourself are ill, stay home to avoid spreading germs to those around you.
Q: Does Microban Germicidal Cleaner kill swine flu?
A: The Influenza H1N1 virus apparently responsible for the current swine flu outbreak is an influenza type A virus. Although these viruses mutate rapidly, EPA believes, based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009-H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains. Independent laboratory tests have shown that Microban Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate and Microban Germicidal Cleaner, when used according to its label instructions, are effective against the Type A influenza virus.
Because viral infections frequently make the patient more susceptible to secondary viral and bacterial infections, it is wise to use a broad spectrum product such as Microban Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate or Microban Germicidal Cleaner for routine housekeeping.
Q: Are there additional steps that can be taken if a person is known to be or suspected to be infected with swine flu?
A: There are several more things you can do to reduce transmission to other healthy people. Obviously the ill person should receive immediate medical treatment. Other preventative steps:
- The ill person should use disposable tissues when coughing and sneezing. These tissues should be disposed immediately. Trash should be removed by people who have hand protection. Trash should be placed into plastic bags that are securely tied before removing to a waste dumpster.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning environmental surfaces, especially hand contact points such as door knobs, elevator buttons, and telephone receivers.
- The clothing and bedding of the ill person should be carefully handled when laundered. Do not shake the items but roll them and launder promptly.
- Use respiratory and eye protection while working around the ill person.
- Use extra care to avoid contacting eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
- Use of Microban Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate and Microban Germicidal Cleaner enables compliance with recommendations made by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for infection control and care of patients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 Virus (Swine Influenza “A”).
- The room that the patient is in can be placed under negative air pressure to prevent airborne particles from spreading from one room to another.
Q: Where can you go for more information?
As a professional in the cleaning and disaster repair industry your response to the current health crisis will fall into 2 different categories: efforts towards swine influenza infection prevention/minimization and cleanup or routine maintenance of areas in which occupants are suspected or known to be or have been infected with swine flu virus. Here are links to guidance documents and additional resources:
Centers for Disease Control Ounce of Prevention: www.cdc.gov/ounceofprevention.
Centers for Disease Control Swine Flu: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
An extensive document Guideline for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_environinfection.html
Your local health authority such as County Health Department