Simultaneous comparison of murine norovirus, feline calicivirus, coliphage MS2, and GII.4 norovirus to evaluate the efficacy of sodium hypochlorite against human norovirus on a fecally soiled stainless steel surface

Geun Woo Park, Mark D Sobsey
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2011, 8 (9): 1005-10
Free chlorine as hypochlorite is recommended to decontaminate fecally contaminated surfaces to control human norovirus (NoV). We evaluated the efficacy of sodium hypochlorite to decontaminate GII.4 NoV and three surrogates of human NoVs, feline calicivirus (FCV), murine norovirus (MNV), and coliphage MS2, on a fecally soiled stainless steel surface. Reduction of infectivity of FCV, MNV, and MS2 was measured by plaque assay and the decline of genomic copy numbers of GII.4 NoV by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Sodium hypochlorite solution at 5000 ppm could inactivate FCV by 3 log(10) plaque forming units after approximately 1.9 minutes of contact time, but required longer exposure times of 3.2 and 4.5 minutes to reduce MNV and MS2 by 3 log(10), respectively. However, detection of viral RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay may not be reliable to estimate the effectiveness of sodium hypochlorite against human NoV. Of three NoV surrogates, FCV is not the most resistant of the virus tested for inactivation by hypochlorite and thus is not the worst-case model for estimating NoV inactivation. Although the use of 5000 ppm of hypochlorite for fecally soiled surfaces is effective, it may require longer exposure times of ≥3 minutes to control NoVs. Surface precleaning before hypochlorite disinfection is recommended to initially reduce the fecal organic load for better virus inactivation and should be a part of the environmental hygiene response measures during an NoV outbreak or where NoV fecal contamination of environmental surfaces is likely or suspected to be present.

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