Research Articles

The Role of Surfaces in the Spread of Disease

SIGNIFICANCE OF FOMITES IN THE SPREAD OF RESPIRATORY AND ENTERIC VIRAL DISEASE

Published: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, March 2007
Source: http://aem.asm.org/content/73/6/1687.full.pdf+html

Background

Viruses cause the majority (60%) of human infections along with common illnesses caused by respiratory and enteric viruses. Unfortunately, unlike diseases caused by bacteria, viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics, making prevention even more critical.

This article summarizes existing research to assess the significance fomites (porous and nonporous surfaces or objects that can become contaminated) in the spread of common viruses.

Results

Once a surface becomes contaminated, the transfer of infectious disease between objects can easily occur. Numerous studies have shown that contaminated fomites (surfaces) are linked with the transmission of viruses, therefore disinfection of surfaces can be used to help interrupt disease spread.