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In response to the growing numbers of confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza A virus infection across the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared a pandemic, the first global epidemic in 41 years. Professional Disposables International, Inc. (PDI), a leader in infection prevention in healthcare settings, has issued a reminder about the importance of hand hygiene as an effective way to stem the spread of disease.
“We are closely monitoring the latest updates from both the CDC, as well as the World Health Organization, to ensure the public is provided with the most up-to-date information available,” says Zachary T. Julius, CEO of PDI. “According to the CDC, hand hygiene remains the first step in infection prevention and it is a step each one of us can take.” H1N1 flu is highly contagious and can easily be transmitted before a person shows symptoms.
Proper hand hygiene is the single most important means for preventing the spread of infection in schools, offices and healthcare facilities. Frequently wash hands with soap and water for 15-20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
In healthcare settings, disinfecting hard surfaces is also critical to preventing the spread of infection between patients and healthcare workers. Avoid touching community surfaces where the virus can live for up to 2 to 8 hours outside the body.
PDI maintains a complete portfolio of infection prevention solutions to meet the ever evolving clinical needs of the healthcare industry. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s most recent guidance for the use of antimicrobial products registered for use against influenza A viruses on hard surfaces states that any EPA-accepted product with an efficacy claim against influenza A virus is also effective against H1N1 influenza virus. All three PDI Sani-Cloth® disinfecting products have claims against influenza A virus.
In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency advises healthcare institutions to “choose a product whose label states that it is effective against ‘influenza A virus’ and lists your specific site of concern, such as hospitals or healthcare facilities.” The EPA also states that it believes, “based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009-H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains on hard, non-porous surfaces. For safe and effective use of these products, always follow label instructions for these products, paying special attention to the product’s dilution rate (if applicable) and contact time.”
In addition to providing efficacious disinfectants and hand hygiene products, PDI has released new protocols for both environmental surface disinfection and hand hygiene to reflect the latest guidance from the CDC and WHO.
“PDI is ready to assist our customers in responding to this growing public health threat by providing infection prevention resources, such as product usage templates updated with the latest guidance from the CDC and WHO, as well as consultations with one of our infection preventionists,” says J. Hudson Garrett Jr., PhD, director of clinical affairs at PDI.
For additional specific guidance on infection prevention strategies specific to H1N1 influenza, visit the CDC’s dedicated resource page at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ or the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology resource page at www.apic.org. For more details, visit www.pdipdi.com