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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With the potential threat of a worldwide human influenza pandemic, Ecolab, a global expert in cleaning, food safety, and hygiene, has taken proactive steps to reassure its customers that it is prepared to respond should an outbreak occur.
"Scientific experts continue to debate the level of risk and the ultimate impact on public health worldwide," said Doug Baker, president and CEO of Ecolab. "However, we are proactively preparing for a potential pandemic, and are providing customers with procedures and solutions to assist them in the event the avian influenza strain H5N1 does mutate to a human influenza virus."
Ecolab created a cross-divisional flu pandemic task force in early 2005 to address the business and customer implications of such an event. The task force has monitored the spread of the avian flu and has developed contingency plans that address customer needs, business continuity issues, employee support, communications, and training. Ecolab is also partnering with the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) to ensure its employees and customers have access to the most current, authoritative and relevant information on the avian flu.
"Ecolab has worked aggressively over the past months to address the challenges and fallout this potential catastrophe poses to all of us," Baker added. "We have gathered leaders in the field to review best practice protocols and effective product applications to help prevent the spread of the flu, and to facilitate business continuity for customers to the greatest extent possible. We are fortunate to have a number of the foremost authorities on the control of infectious viruses in public venues on our team, and we're committed to sharing this expertise and knowledge with our customers, government entities, and the world."
Ecolab is currently communicating its pandemic procedures and products to its customers via its field service representatives. Information is also available on www.ecolab.com.
Frequent, thorough handwashing is imperative to help reduce hand-to-hand or hand-to-object transmission of the flu virus. Among the Ecolab hand sanitizers that are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for infection control are its antimicrobial rinses Endure 300 and Endure 320. Ecolab has a range of products that have been registered with the U.S. EPA as effective against influenza virus strains listed on the product labels. Concentrates include Oasis 499 HBV, Oasis Pro 14 Antibacterial All Purpose Cleaner, HB Quat, and A-456-N. Ready-to-use sprays and wipes include Oasis Pro TB Disinfectant Wipes, Oasis Pro TB Disinfectant Cleaner Germicidal Solution, Asepti-Wipe II, and Asepticare Disinfectant Foam Cleaner.
"Nothing is certain to be effective against a strain that can transmit easily among humans until the strain exists and can be analyzed and tested in a lab. However, many of our EPA-registered products are effective in killing other influenza strains, as listed on our product labels," said Susan Nestegard, senior vice president of research, development, and engineering, and chief technical officer. "While a human flu pandemic would result in widespread infection and global economic disruption, our customers can be confident that Ecolab is taking action to ensure we are prepared to effectively support them in the event that it materializes. We are being aggressive in our preparations for this possibility, and are clearly focused on providing a full range of product and service solutions to help protect our customers, their employees, their customers and their businesses."