Attachment of noroviruses to stainless steel and their inactivation, using household disinfectants

Maryline Girard, Solange Ngazoa, Kirsten Mattison, Julie Jean
Journal of Food Protection 2010, 73 (2): 400-4
The aims of this study were (i) to evaluate the impact of pH and relative humidity on the attachment of norovirus (NoV) to fomites and (ii) to evaluate the effectiveness of different household disinfectants on NoV attached to fomites. Plaque assay and/or real-time reverse transcription PCR assay were used to determine the amount of murine and human NoV attached to stainless steel disks, i.e., the amount removed by sonication in elution buffer but not by surface rinses with water only. An enzymatic pretreatment was used for both human and murine NoV before the real-time reverse transcription PCR assay to avoid detection of RNA associated with inactivated virus. For both murine and human NoV, maximum attachment was obtained after a contact time of 10 min. Attachment of NoV to stainless steel does not appear to be affected by pH, although murine NoV was less attached (<2 log units) at pH 9 and at low relative humidity (25%) than was human NoV (3 log units). Sodium hypochlorite (3%) was the most effective disinfectant, producing a greater than 3-log reduction after 10 min compared with less than a 1-log reduction after treatment with quaternary ammonium compounds and ethoxylated alcohols. Murine NoV was more sensitive than human NoV to disinfectants by approximately 1 to 2 log units. These results will help improve strategies for decontaminating surfaces harboring NoV and thus reduce the incidence of illness caused by these pathogens in the food sector and domestic environments.

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