Role of the Healthcare Surface Environment in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Transmission and Potential Control Measures

Hajime Kanamori, David J. Weber, William A. Rutala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The healthcare environment serves as one of the possible routes of transmission of epidemiologically important pathogens, but the role of the contaminated environment on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission remains unclear. We reviewed survival, contamination, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via environmental surfaces and shared medical devices as well as environmental disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, have been demonstrated to survive for hours to days on environmental surfaces depending on experimental conditions. The healthcare environment is frequently contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 RNA in most studies but without evidence of viable virus. Although direct exposure to respiratory droplets is the main transmission route of SARS-CoV-2, the contaminated healthcare environment can potentially result in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as described with other coronaviruses such as SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses. It is important to improve thoroughness of cleaning/disinfection practices in healthcare facilities and select effective disinfectants to decontaminate inanimate surfaces and shared patient care items.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2052-2061
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume72
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • control measures
  • COVID-19
  • healthcare environment
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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