International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

Transmission of Viruses from Restroom Use: A Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment

Restroom use has been implicated in a number of viral outbreaks. In this study, we apply quantitative microbial risk assessment to quantify the risk of viral transmission by contaminated restroom fomites. We estimate risk from high-touch fomite surfaces (entrance/exit door, toilet seat) for three viruses of interest (SARS-CoV-2, adenovirus, norovirus) through eight exposure scenarios involving differing user behaviors, and the use of hand sanitizer following each scenario. We assessed the impacts of several sequences of fomite contacts in the restroom, reflecting the variability of human behavior, on infection risks for these viruses. Touching of the toilet seat was assumed to model adjustment of the seat (open vs. closed), a common touch point in single-user restrooms (home, small business, hospital). A Monte Carlo simulation was conducted for each exposure scenario (10,000 simulations each). Norovirus resulted in the highest probability of infection for all exposure scenarios with fomite surfaces. Post-restroom automatic-dispensing hand sanitizer use reduced the probability of infection for each virus by up to 99.75%. Handwashing within the restroom, an important risk-reduction intervention, was not found to be as effective as use of a non-touch hand sanitizer dispenser for reducing risk to near or below 1/1,000,000, a commonly used risk threshold for comparison.

 

Abney SE, Higham CA, Wilson AM, Ijaz MK, McKinney J, Reynolds KA, Gerba CP. Transmission of Viruses from Restroom Use: A Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment. Food and Environmental Virology. 2024 Feb 19:1-4.

Resource Link:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12560-023-09580-1