Coronavirus: Hand-hygiene can help reduce the risk of a pandemic
The WHO issued a warning last week that the world must be prepared for a Coronavirus pandemic. A recent study published in Risk Analysis suggests that increasing traveler engagement with proper hand-hygiene at all airports has the potential to reduce the risk of a potential pandemic by 24-69 percent.
Furthermore, the study shows that if hand-hygiene strategies are implemented in just ten critical airports, central to the global air-transportation network, the pandemic risk can drop by up to 37 percent.
“Airports, and airplanes, are highly infectious because they are close, confined areas with large, mobile populations. Viruses are spread through bodily fluids, so keeping hands clean at major transport hubs is central to control spread.”
– Christos Nicolaides, Ph.D., lead author, University of Cyprus and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Airports also contain numerous highly contaminated surfaces that are frequently touched by travelers, including self-service check-in screens, gate bench armrests, water fountain buttons, tray tables, and door handles.
A team of scientists from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Greifswald University Hospital has found that coronavirus can live up to nine days on common surfaces, such as door handles.
The study also found that the best way to eliminate coronaviruses staying on hard surfaces is by cleaning them with a solution that’s at least 62 percent ethanol within one minute of contamination.