As we look forward to the great things to come in 2018, one of our primary goals is to ensure that we can protect more people from the harmful bacteria and viruses that cause unnecessary illnesses. Millions of people each year fall ill to diseases caused by germs, including Norovirus, MRSA, E. Coli, Salmonella, and many more. Outbreaks are not limited to a single location or a single industry – they can happen just about anywhere that people go. Here are a few examples of outbreaks that occurred in 2017.
1. District Closes 18 Schools
Schools can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses with so many students in close proximity. Moreover, add the fact that germs such as Norovirus are highly contagious and difficult to combat due to their resistance to many disinfectants, and these germs can easily become a major problem. For children attending public schools, transmission of common infectious diseases is estimated to result in more than 164 million lost school days each year. In Humboldt County, California, a district closed 18 schools to ensure they could complete a deep clean to eliminate such germs prior to allowing students to return. Not only does this mean lost education time for students, in some states this means less money for schools as well, especially if their budgets are based on attendance. Add in the additional administrative expenses for handling these situations, as well as the lost wages for parents who must take time off work to care for their sick children, and the result is a huge economic impact for every outbreak.
2. Royal Caribbean Cruise Outbreak Impacts Over 300 Passengers
According to the CDC, 310 passengers and 22 crew members reported being ill on a December sailing of the Independence of the Seas. This outbreak of Norovirus is one of 11 outbreaks reported on cruise ships in 2017. Two ships, the Noordam and the Volendam, both suffered back-to-back Norovirus outbreaks in July 2017 highlighting that without proper disinfection of a ship these diseases can linger even between voyages. Altogether, nearly 1400 passengers and crew members were reported ill on cruise ship outbreaks in 2017. However, this may not be the total number of passengers impacted as many may not have officially reported their illness.
3. Assisted Living Center Quarantined
The CDC reports that up to 3 million serious infections occur in assisted living facilities each year. Symptoms from illnesses caused by pathogens such as Norovirus can be extremely serious for older adults. Seniors are prone to complications from these illnesses as they are more susceptible to such dangers as dehydration from stomach viruses. In January of 2017, one assisted living facility had to place its guests under quarantine to prevent the further spread of Norovirus in their facility. As a result, residents had to be placed in isolation for weeks to prevent other seniors from falling ill.
4. Hotel Investigated for Norovirus Outbreak
In April 2017, a hotel was investigated for a Norovirus outbreak after a group of 20 students were reported ill. This outbreak followed reported illnesses of at least two other groups at the Connecticut Hotel & Convention Center. It is noteworthy to mention that hotels are not usually identified as the source of such outbreaks because travelers are unable to trace the cause of their illness as they often leave the hotel before the symptoms manifest. However, even if outbreaks are not commonly attributed to hotels, we know from surveys how important cleanliness is, as 85% of hotel guests indicate that cleanliness is one of the most important factors in selecting a hotel. Hence, it’s critical that hotels have an effective disinfection solution.
5. Salmonella Outbreak Shuts Down Restaurant
In June 2017, Cilantro Fresh Mexican Grill shut down while health investigators looked into a Salmonella outbreak. This is just one example of the numerous foodborne illness outbreaks that occur in restaurants each year. Not only does this lead to an immediate loss of revenue, but also a long-term negative impact on the business’ reputation. Chipotle experienced two more outbreaks this year, with the most recent in Los Angeles, further compounding the stain on their reputation from the series of E. coli, Salmonella and Norovirus outbreaks from 2015.
While not all transmissions of illness can be prevented, especially those transmitted by person-to-person contact, we know that most bacteria and viruses can last for several days, and some even up to weeks on surfaces. We also know that germs are regularly transmitted by contact with air, surfaces, and equipment that is not properly disinfected. Some studies have indicated as many as 50% of surfaces are still contaminated after traditional chemical cleaning.
Violet Defense’s Surface & Air Germ Elimination (S.A.G.E.) line of products can effectively kill up to 99.9% of germs in the air and on surfaces, including those that caused the many outbreaks this past year. Violet Defense has also announced the S.A.G.E. UV Micro unit, an extremely small, yet powerful product that can be taken virtually anywhere.
For more information on how we can help protect your business and be prepared to tackle any potential outbreaks, contact us.