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Spread and prevention of virus infections in community settings and domestic homes

This review, commissioned by IFH, reviews the external literature on the infection potential in community and domestic settings with particular reference to viruses. Viruses are probably the most common cause of infectious disease acquired within indoor environments and have considerable impact on human health, ranging from severe life-threatening illnesses to relatively mild and self-limiting or asymptomatic diseases. In particular, viruses causing gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases spread rapidly in the community and cause considerable morbidity. Increasing numbers of people who have impaired immunity, for whom the consequences of infection can be much more serious, are now cared for in `out of hospital&; settings. This review examines the dispersal, persistence and control of some common viruses in the domestic home and in community facilities. There is growing evidence that person-to-person transmission via the hands and contaminated fomites plays a key role in the spread of viral infections and there is a need for wider understanding of the potential for contaminated surfaces to act as unidentified vectors of pathogens in the transmission cycle. Intervention studies have shown that improved standards of education, personal hygiene (particularly handwashing) and targeted environmental hygiene have considerable impact in the control and prevention of infectious organisms. The review was published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology 2001, 91, 7-21

Author: Barker J, Stevens D, Bloomfield SF

Published: 01/12/2001

Publication Type: Review

Publisher: Journal of Applied Microbiology