ResearchPad - sanitization Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Preliminary study: Health and performance assessment in broiler chicks following application of six different hatching egg disinfection protocols]]> As part of a Germany-wide project that evaluates strategies for the reduction of multi-resistant bacteria along the poultry production chain, the impact of different hatching egg disinfectants on hatchability and health of the broiler chicks was evaluated. Animal trials were conducted with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase- (ESBL) producing Escherichia (E.) coli contaminated hatching eggs and six disinfection protocols that used formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, low-energy electron irradiation, peracetic acid and an essential oil preparation. Each protocol was tested on a group of 50 chicks. Equally sized positive and negative control groups were carried along for each trial. Hatchability, mortality and body weight were recorded as performance parameters. During necropsy of half of the animals in each group on day 7 and 14 respectively, macroscopic abnormalities, body weight, weights of liver and gut convolute were recorded and a range of tissue samples for histological examination were collected as part of the health assessment. A decrease in hatchability was recorded for spray application of essential oils. Body weight development was overall comparable, in several groups even superior, to the Ross308 performance objectives, but a reduced performance was seen in the hydrogen peroxide group. Histologically, lymphoid follicles were regularly seen in all sampled organs and no consistent differences were observed between contaminated and non-contaminated groups. Significances were infrequently and inconsistently seen. In conclusion, remarkable findings were a decrease in hatchability caused by the essential oils spray application and a reduced body weight development in the hydrogen peroxide group. Therefore, the essential oils preparation as spray application was deemed inappropriate in practice, while the application of hydrogen peroxide was considered in need of further research. The other trial results indicate that the tested hatching egg disinfectants present a possible alternative to formaldehyde.

<![CDATA[Risk of poultry compartments for transmission of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza]]>

When outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) occur in OIE member countries with until then disease-free status, member countries can use ‘compartmentalisation’. A compartment may be defined as a subset of farms under a common management system, complying with certain stringent surveillance, control and biosecurity measures, and based on that may receive a disease-free status. Based on this disease-free status the compartment is exempted from certain transport restrictions coming into force in case of outbreaks occurring in the country. For deciding whether a candidate compartment is granted official compartment status, it is relevant to assess the additional HPAI transmission risks that would arise due to the exemptions granted. These risks consist of both additional local transmission risks as well as the additional risk of a ‘jump’ of HPAI infection from one poultry area, via the compartment, to another area. Here such risk assessment is carried out using a spatial mathematical model for between-farm transmission in the Netherlands, yielding insight in the roles of compartment composition and contact structure and identify relevant evaluation criteria for granting HPAI compartment status. At the core of this model are transmission probabilities associated with indirect between-farm contacts, e.g. through feed delivery, egg collection and professional visitors. These probabilities were estimated from Dutch epidemic outbreak data in earlier work. The additional risk of a jump of HPAI from one area, via the compartment, to another area is calculated relative to the direct jump risk. The results show that additional transmission risks caused by a compartment to other farms are mainly dependent on the distance of densely populated poultry areas (DPPAs) to the nearest compartment farm. Apart from conditions on these distances, we also recommend specific routing requirements for transport and other movements within the compartment.

<![CDATA[Evaluation of allograft contamination and decontamination at the Treviso Tissue Bank Foundation: A retrospective study of 11,129 tissues]]>

Microbiological contamination of retrieved tissues has become a very important topic and a critical aspect in the safety of allografts. We have analysed contamination in 11,129 tissues with a longitudinal contamination profile for each individual tissue. More specifically, 10,035 musculoskeletal tissues and 1,094 cardiovascular tissues were retrieved from a total of 763 multi-tissue donors, of whom 105 were heart-beating donors as well as organ donors, while the remaining 658 were non-heart beating donors and tissue donors only. All tissues were decontaminated twice, the first time immediately after retrieval and the second time after processing. Each tissue was submitted to microbiological culture three times, i.e., upon retrieval (Time 1), after the first decontamination (Time 2) and after the second decontamination (Time 3). The contamination rate for musculoskeletal tissues was 52%, 16.2% and 0.5% at Time 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The contamination rate for cardiovascular tissues was 84%, 42% and 6%. More than one strain was simultaneously present in 10.8% of musculoskeletal tissues and 44.6% of cardiovascular tissues. Out of 8,560 non-heart-beating donor musculoskeletal tissues, 4,689 (54.8%), 1,383 (16.2%) and 42 (0.5%) were contaminated at Time 1, Time 2 and Time 3, respectively. Out of 1,475 heart-beating donor musculoskeletal tissues, 522 (35.4%) 113 (7.7%) and 2 (0.1%) tissues were found to be contaminated at Time 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Out of 984 non-heart beating donor cardiovascular tissues, 869 (88.3%), 449 (45.6%) and 69 (7%) proved positive at Time 1, 2 and 3 respectively, while 50 (45.5%) and 10 (9.1%) heart-beating donor cardiovascular tissues were contaminated at Time 1 and 2. No tissue was contaminated at Time 3. Based on our methods, the two-step decontamination approach is mandatory in order to drastically reduce the number of tissues found to be positive at the end of the process.

<![CDATA[Evaluation of an enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol in Salmonella contaminated pig holdings in the United Kingdom]]>

Salmonella is the second most commonly reported zoonotic gastrointestinal pathogen in the European Union, and a significant proportion of the cases are linked to the consumption of contaminated pork. Reduction of Salmonella at the farm level helps to mininimise the contamination pressure at the slaughterhouse, and therefore the number of Salmonella bacteria entering the food chain. Cleaning and disinfection (C&D) between batches of pigs is an intervention measure that has potential to reduce the transmission of Salmonella contamination within farms. In this study, two pig finisher buildings in each of 10 Salmonella positive farms were sampled pre-C&D, post-C&D, post-restocking with the following batch of pigs, and shortly before these pigs were sent to slaughter. The incoming batch of pigs was also sampled before it reached the study building (pre-restocking). At each visit, pooled and individual faecal samples were collected and Salmonella isolation was carried out according to an ISO 6579:2002 Annex D-based method. One building on each farm (intervention) was cleaned and disinfected according to a rigorous protocol consisting of several steps and a Defra-approved disinfectant used at the General Orders concentration, whilst the other building (control) was cleaned and disinfected as per normal farm routine. At the post-C&D visit, Enterobacteriaceae and total bacterial counts were determined to evaluate residual faecal contamination and general hygiene levels. Rodent specialists visited the farms before and after C&D and rodent carcasses were collected for Salmonella testing. The intervention buildings were significantly less likely (p = 0.004) to be positive for Salmonella after C&D. The pre-restocking pigs had the highest likelihood (p<0.001) of being Salmonella positive (often with multiple serovars) and there was no significant difference between intervention and control buildings in Salmonella prevalence at the post-restocking visit (p = 0.199). However, the pigs housed in the intervention buildings were significantly less likely (p = 0.004) to be positive for Salmonella at slaughter age. Multivariable analysis suggested that cleaning all fixtures of buildings, leaving the pens empty for 2–3 days and using an effective disinfectant are factors significantly improving the likelihood of removing Salmonella contamination during C&D. Signs of rodents were recorded in all farms, but rodent activity and harbourage availability decreased between visits. All the rats tested were Salmonella negative. S. Typhimurium or its monophasic variants were isolated from 6 mouse carcasses in 3 farms where the same serovars were isolated from pigs. This study demonstrates that an appropriate C&D programme significantly reduces the likelihood of residual contamination in Salmonella positive pig buildings, and suggests a significant reduction in the prevalence of Salmonella in the pigs in appropriately cleaned and disinfected buildings when sampled before slaughter. Due to a high prevalence of infection in replacement pigs, control of Salmonella in pig farms is challenging. Rodents may also contribute to the carry-over of infection between batches. C&D is a useful measure to help reduce the number of infected pigs going to the slaughterhouse, but should be supplemented by other control measures along the pig breeding and production chain.

<![CDATA[Household Transmission of Vibrio cholerae in Bangladesh]]>


Vibrio cholerae infections cluster in households. This study's objective was to quantify the relative contribution of direct, within-household exposure (for example, via contamination of household food, water, or surfaces) to endemic cholera transmission. Quantifying the relative contribution of direct exposure is important for planning effective prevention and control measures.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Symptom histories and multiple blood and fecal specimens were prospectively collected from household members of hospital-ascertained cholera cases in Bangladesh from 2001–2006. We estimated the probabilities of cholera transmission through 1) direct exposure within the household and 2) contact with community-based sources of infection. The natural history of cholera infection and covariate effects on transmission were considered. Significant direct transmission (p-value<0.0001) occurred among 1414 members of 364 households. Fecal shedding of O1 El Tor Ogawa was associated with a 4.9% (95% confidence interval: 0.9%–22.8%) risk of infection among household contacts through direct exposure during an 11-day infectious period (mean length). The estimated 11-day risk of O1 El Tor Ogawa infection through exposure to community-based sources was 2.5% (0.8%–8.0%). The corresponding estimated risks for O1 El Tor Inaba and O139 infection were 3.7% (0.7%–16.6%) and 8.2% (2.1%–27.1%) through direct exposure, and 3.4% (1.7%–6.7%) and 2.0% (0.5%–7.3%) through community-based exposure. Children under 5 years-old were at elevated risk of infection. Limitations of the study may have led to an underestimation of the true risk of cholera infection. For instance, available covariate data may have incompletely characterized levels of pre-existing immunity to cholera infection. Transmission via direct exposure occurring outside of the household was not considered.


Direct exposure contributes substantially to endemic transmission of symptomatic cholera in an urban setting. We provide the first estimate of the transmissibility of endemic cholera within prospectively-followed members of households. The role of direct transmission must be considered when planning cholera control activities.

<![CDATA[Urine disinfection and in situ pathogen killing using a Microbial Fuel Cell cascade system]]>

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are emerging as an effective means of treating different types of waste including urine and wastewater. However, the fate of pathogens in an MFC-based system remains unknown, and in this study we investigated the effect of introducing the enteric pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis in an MFC cascade system. The MFCs continuously fed with urine showed high disinfecting potential. As part of two independent trials, during which the bioluminescent S. enteritidis strain was introduced into the MFC cascade, the number of viable counts and the level of bioluminescence were reduced by up to 4.43±0.04 and 4.21±0.01 log-fold, respectively. The killing efficacy observed for the MFCs operating under closed-circuit conditions, were higher by 1.69 and 1.72 log-fold reduction than for the open circuit MFCs, in both independent trials. The results indicated that the bactericidal properties of a well performing anode were dependent on power performance and the oxidation-reduction potential recorded for the MFCs. This is the first time that the fate of pathogenic bacteria has been investigated in continuously operating MFC systems.

<![CDATA[Ebola virus RNA detection on fomites in close proximity to confirmed Ebola patients; N’Zerekore, Guinea, 2015]]>


Health care workers (HCWs) in contact with patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) are exposed to a risk of viral contamination. Fomites contaminated with the patient’s blood or body fluids represents this risk. Our study aims to detect Ebola virus (EBOV) RNA within the high- and low-risk areas of an Ebola treatment unit (ETU) located in inland Guinea during the 2014–2015 West African Ebola epidemics. For samples from patients’ immediate vicinity, we aim to seek an association between viral RNA detectability and level of plasma viral load of patients (intermediate to high, or very high).


Swabbing was performed on immediate vicinity of Ebola patients, on surfaces of an ETU, and on personal protective equipment (PPE) of HCWs after patient care and prior to doffing. All samples were assessed by quantitative reverse-transcribed PCR (RT-qPCR).


32% (22/68) of swabs from high-risk areas were tested positive for EBOV RNA, including 42% (18/43) from patients’ immediate vicinity, and 16% (4/25) from HCWs PPE. None of specimens from low-risk areas were tested positive (0/19). Swabs were much more often viral RNA positive in the vicinity of patients with a very high plasma viral load (OR 6.7, 95% CI [1.7–23.4]).


Our findings show the persistence of EBOV RNA in the environment of Ebola patients and of HCWs, in a Guinean ETU, despite strict infection prevention and control measures. This detection raises the possibility that patients’ environment could be a potential source of contamination with the virus.

<![CDATA[The risk of transmission of a viral haemorrhagic fever infection in a United Kingdom laboratory]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Microbicidal effects of weakly acidified chlorous acid water against feline calicivirus and Clostridium difficile spores under protein-rich conditions]]>

Sanitation of environmental surfaces with chlorine based-disinfectants is a principal measure to control outbreaks of norovirus or Clostridium difficile. The microbicidal activity of chlorine-based disinfectants depends on the free available chlorine (FAC), but their oxidative potential is rapidly eliminated by organic matter. In this study, the microbicidal activities of weakly acidified chlorous acid water (WACAW) and sodium hypochlorite solution (NaClO) against feline calcivirus (FCV) and C. difficile spores were compared in protein-rich conditions. WACAW inactivated FCV and C. difficile spores better than NaClO under all experimental conditions used in this study. WACAW above 100 ppm FAC decreased FCV >4 log10 within 30 sec in the presence of 0.5% each of bovine serum albumin (BSA), polypeptone or meat extract. Even in the presence of 5% BSA, WACAW at 600 ppm FAC reduced FCV >4 log10 within 30 sec. Polypeptone inhibited the virucidal activity of WACAW against FCV more so than BSA or meat extract. WACAW at 200 ppm FAC decreased C. difficile spores >3 log10 within 1 min in the presence of 0.5% polypeptone. The microbicidal activity of NaClO was extensively diminished in the presence of organic matter. WACAW recovered its FAC to the initial level after partial neutralization by sodium thiosulfate, while no restoration of the FAC was observed in NaClO. These results indicate that WACAW is relatively stable under organic matter-rich conditions and therefore may be useful for treating environmental surfaces contaminated by human excretions.

<![CDATA[Controlling viral outbreaks: Quantitative strategies]]>

Preparing for and responding to outbreaks of serious livestock infectious diseases are critical measures to safeguard animal health, public health, and food supply. Almost all of the current control strategies are empirical, and mass culling or “stamping out” is frequently the principal strategy for controlling epidemics. However, there are ethical, ecological, and economic reasons to consider less drastic control strategies. Here we use modeling to quantitatively study the efficacy of different control measures for viral outbreaks, where the infectiousness, transmissibility and death rate of animals commonly depends on their viral load. We develop a broad theoretical framework for exploring and understanding this heterogeneity. The model includes both direct transmission from infectious animals and indirect transmission from an environmental reservoir. We then incorporate a large variety of control measures, including vaccination, antivirals, isolation, environmental disinfection, and several forms of culling, which may result in fewer culled animals. We provide explicit formulae for the basic reproduction number, R0, for each intervention and for combinations. We evaluate the control methods for a realistic simulated outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza on a mid-sized turkey farm. In this simulated outbreak, culling results in more total dead birds and dramatically more when culling all of the infected birds.

<![CDATA[Selective Photocatalytic Disinfection by Coupling StrepMiniSog to the Antibody Catalyzed Water Oxidation Pathway]]>

For several decades reactive oxygen species have been applied to water quality engineering and efficient disinfection strategies; however, these methods are limited by disinfection byproduct and catalyst-derived toxicity concerns which could be improved by selectively targeting contaminants of interest. Here we present a targeted photocatalytic system based on the fusion protein StrepMiniSOG that uses light within the visible spectrum to produce reactive oxygen species at a greater efficiency than current photosensitizers, allowing for shorter irradiation times from a fully biodegradable photocatalyst. The StrepMiniSOG photodisinfection system is unable to cross cell membranes and like other consumed proteins, can be degraded by endogenous digestive enzymes in the human gut, thereby reducing the consumption risks typically associated with other disinfection agents. We demonstrate specific, multi-log removal of Listeria monocytogenes from a mixed population of bacteria, establishing the StrepMiniSOG disinfection system as a valuable tool for targeted pathogen removal, while maintaining existing microbial biodiversity.

<![CDATA[Disinfection of Ebola Virus in Sterilized Municipal Wastewater]]>

Concerns have been raised regarding handling of Ebola virus contaminated wastewater, as well as the adequacy of proposed disinfection approaches. In the current study, we investigate the inactivation of Ebola virus in sterilized domestic wastewater utilizing sodium hypochlorite addition and pH adjustment. No viral inactivation was observed in the one-hour tests without sodium hypochlorite addition or pH adjustment. No virus was recovered after 20 seconds (i.e. 4.2 log10 unit inactivation to detection limit) following the addition of 5 and 10 mg L-1 sodium hypochlorite, which resulted in immediate free chlorine residuals of 0.52 and 1.11 mg L-1, respectively. The addition of 1 mg L-1 sodium hypochlorite resulted in an immediate free chlorine residual of 0.16 mg L-1, which inactivated 3.5 log10 units of Ebola virus in 20 seconds. Further inactivation was not evident due to the rapid consumption of the chlorine residual. Elevating the pH to 11.2 was found to significantly increase viral decay over ambient conditions. These results indicate the high susceptibility of the enveloped Ebola virus to disinfection in the presence of free chlorine in municipal wastewater; however, we caution that extension to more complex matrices (e.g. bodily fluids) will require additional verification.

<![CDATA[A Shipping Container-Based Sterile Processing Unit for Low Resources Settings]]>

Deficiencies in the sterile processing of medical instruments contribute to poor outcomes for patients, such as surgical site infections, longer hospital stays, and deaths. In low resources settings, such as some rural and semi-rural areas and secondary and tertiary cities of developing countries, deficiencies in sterile processing are accentuated due to the lack of access to sterilization equipment, improperly maintained and malfunctioning equipment, lack of power to operate equipment, poor protocols, and inadequate quality control over inventory. Inspired by our sterile processing fieldwork at a district hospital in Sierra Leone in 2013, we built an autonomous, shipping-container-based sterile processing unit to address these deficiencies. The sterile processing unit, dubbed “the sterile box,” is a full suite capable of handling instruments from the moment they leave the operating room to the point they are sterile and ready to be reused for the next surgery. The sterile processing unit is self-sufficient in power and water and features an intake for contaminated instruments, decontamination, sterilization via non-electric steam sterilizers, and secure inventory storage. To validate efficacy, we ran tests of decontamination and sterilization performance. Results of 61 trials validate convincingly that our sterile processing unit achieves satisfactory outcomes for decontamination and sterilization and as such holds promise to support healthcare facilities in low resources settings.

<![CDATA[Evaluation of a Silver-Embedded Ceramic Tablet as a Primary and Secondary Point-of-Use Water Purification Technology in Limpopo Province, S. Africa]]>

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes point-of-use water treatment (PoUWT) technologies as effective means to improve water quality. This paper investigates long-term performance and social acceptance of a novel PoUWT technology, a silver-infused ceramic tablet, in Limpopo Province, South Africa. When placed in a water storage container, the silver-embedded ceramic tablet releases silver ions into water, thereby disinfecting microbial pathogens and leaving the water safe for human consumption. As a result of its simplicity and efficiency, the silver-embedded ceramic tablet can serve as a stand-alone PoUWT method and as a secondary PoUWT to improve exisitng PoUWT methods, such as ceramic water filters. In this paper, three PoUWT interventions were conducted to evaluate the silver-embedded ceramic tablet: (1) the silver-embedded ceramic tablet as a stand-alone PoUWT method, (2) ceramic water filters stand-alone, and (3) a filter-tablet combination. The filter-tablet combination evaluates the silver-embedded ceramic tablet as a secondary PoUWT method when placed in the lower reservoir of the ceramic water filter system to provide residual disinfection post-filtration. Samples were collected from 79 households over one year and analyzed for turbidity, total silver levels and coliform bacteria. Results show that the silver-embedded ceramic tablet effectively reduced total coliform bacteria (TC) and E. coli when used as a stand-alone PoUWT method and when used in combination with ceramic water filters. The silver-embedded ceramic tablet’s performance as a stand-alone PoUWT method was comparable to current inexpensive, single-use PoUWT methods, demonstrating 100% and 75% median reduction in E. coli and TC, respectively, after two months of use. Overall, the the filter-tablet combination performed the best of the three interventions, providing a 100% average percent reduction in E. coli over one year. User surveys were also conducted and indicated that the silver-embedded ceramic tablet was simple to use and culturally appropriate. Also, silver levels in all treated water samples remained below 20 μg/L, significantly lower than the drinking water standard of 100 μg/L, making it safe for consumption. Long-term data demonstrates that the silver-embedded ceramic tablet has beneficial effects even after one year of use. This study demonstrates that the silver-embedded ceramic tablet can effectively improve water quality when used alone, or with ceramic water filters, to reduce rates of recontamination. Therefore, the tablet has the potential to provide a low-cost means to purify water in resource-limited settings.

<![CDATA[Rapid deployment of a mobile biosafety level-3 laboratory in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic]]>


Ebola virus emerged in West Africa in December 2013. The high population mobility and poor public health infrastructure in this region led to the development of the largest Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak to date.

Methodology/Principal findings

On September 26, 2014, China dispatched a Mobile Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory (MBSL-3 Lab) and a well-trained diagnostic team to Sierra Leone to assist in EVD diagnosis using quantitative real-time PCR, which allowed the diagnosis of suspected EVD cases in less than 4 hours from the time of sample receiving. This laboratory was composed of three container vehicles equipped with advanced ventilation system, communication system, electricity and gas supply system. We strictly applied multiple safety precautions to reduce exposure risks. Personnel, materials, water and air flow management were the key elements of the biosafety measures in the MBSL-3 Lab. Air samples were regularly collected from the MBSL-3 Lab, but no evidence of Ebola virus infectious aerosols was detected. Potentially contaminated objects were also tested by collecting swabs. On one occasion, a pipette tested positive for EVD. A total of 1,635 suspected EVD cases (824 positive [50.4%]) were tested from September 28 to November 11, 2014, and no member of the diagnostic team was infected with Ebola virus or other pathogens, including Lassa fever. The specimens tested included blood (69.2%) and oral swabs (30.8%) with positivity rates of 54.2% and 41.9%, respectively. The China mobile laboratory was thus instrumental in the EVD outbreak response by providing timely and reliable diagnostics.


The MBSL-3 Lab significantly contributed to establishing a suitable laboratory response capacity during the emergence of EVD in Sierra Leone.

<![CDATA[Selection of a Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1) surrogate to evaluate surface disinfection efficacy in Ebola outbreaks: Comparison of four bacteriophages]]>

The 2014 West African Ebola virus disease outbreak was the largest to date, and conflicting, chlorine-based surface disinfection protocols to interrupt disease transmission were recommended. We identified only one study documenting surface disinfection efficacy against the Ebola virus, showing a >6.6 log reduction after 5-minute exposure to 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) based on small-scale tests (Cook et al. (2015)). In preparation for future extensive, large-scale disinfection efficacy experiments, we replicated the Cook et al. experiment using four potential BSL-1 surrogates selected based on similarities to the Ebola virus: bacteriophages MS2, M13, Phi6, and PR772. Each bacteriophage was exposed to 0.1% and 0.5% NaOCl for 1, 5, and 10 minutes on stainless steel. MS2 and M13 were only reduced by 3.4 log and 3.5 log after a 10-minute exposure to 0.5% NaOCl, and would be overly conservative surrogates. Conversely, PR772 was too easily inactivated for surrogate use, as it was reduced by >4.8 log after only 1-minute exposure to 0.5% NaOCl. Phi6 was slightly more resistant than the Ebola virus, with 4.1 log reduction after a 5-minute exposure and not detected after a 10-minute exposure to 0.5% NaOCl. We therefore recommend Phi6 as a surrogate for evaluating the efficacy of chlorine-based surface disinfectants against the Ebola virus.

<![CDATA[Shelf-Life of Chlorine Solutions Recommended in Ebola Virus Disease Response]]>

In Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks, it is widely recommended to wash living things (handwashing) with 0.05% (500 mg/L) chlorine solution and non-living things (surfaces, personal protective equipment, dead bodies) with 0.5% (5,000 mg/L) chlorine solution. Chlorine solutions used in EVD response are primarily made from powdered calcium hypochlorite (HTH), granular sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC), and liquid sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), and have a pH range of 5–11. Chlorine solutions degrade following a reaction highly dependent on, and unusually sensitive to, pH, temperature, and concentration. We determined the shelf-life of 0.05% and 0.5% chlorine solutions used in EVD response, including HTH, NaDCC, stabilized NaOCl, generated NaOCl, and neutralized NaOCl solutions. Solutions were stored for 30 days at 25, 30, and 35°C, and tested daily for chlorine concentration and pH. Maximum shelf-life was defined as days until initial concentration fell to <90% of initial concentration in ideal laboratory conditions. At 25–35°C, neutralized-NaOCl solutions (pH = 7) had a maximum shelf-life of a few hours, NaDCC solutions (pH = 6) 2 days, generated NaOCl solutions (pH = 9) 6 days, and HTH and stabilized NaOCl solutions (pH 9–11) >30 days. Models were developed for solutions with maximum shelf-lives between 1–30 days. Extrapolating to 40°C, the maximum predicted shelf-life for 0.05% and 0.5% NaDCC solutions were 0.38 and 0.82 hours, respectively; predicted shelf-life for 0.05% and 0.5% generated NaOCl solutions were >30 and 5.4 days, respectively. Each chlorine solution type offers advantages and disadvantages to responders, as: NaDCC is an easy-to-import high-concentration effervescent powder; HTH is similar, but forms a precipitate that may clog pipes; and, NaOCl solutions can be made locally, but are difficult to transport. We recommend responders chose the most appropriate source chlorine compound for their use, and ensure solutions are stored at appropriate temperatures and used or replaced before expiring.

<![CDATA[Elimination of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in an Animal Feed Manufacturing Facility]]>

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) was the first virus of wide scale concern to be linked to possible transmission by livestock feed or ingredients. Measures to exclude pathogens, prevent cross-contamination, and actively reduce the pathogenic load of feed and ingredients are being developed. However, research thus far has focused on the role of chemicals or thermal treatment to reduce the RNA in the actual feedstuffs, and has not addressed potential residual contamination within the manufacturing facility that may lead to continuous contamination of finished feeds. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the use of a standardized protocol to sanitize an animal feed manufacturing facility contaminated with PEDV. Environmental swabs were collected throughout the facility during the manufacturing of a swine diet inoculated with PEDV. To monitor facility contamination of the virus, swabs were collected at: 1) baseline prior to inoculation, 2) after production of the inoculated feed, 3) after application of a quaternary ammonium-glutaraldehyde blend cleaner, 4) after application of a sodium hypochlorite sanitizing solution, and 5) after facility heat-up to 60°C for 48 hours. Decontamination step, surface, type, zone and their interactions were all found to impact the quantity of detectable PEDV RNA (P < 0.05). As expected, all samples collected from equipment surfaces contained PEDV RNA after production of the contaminated feed. Additionally, the majority of samples collected from non-direct feed contact surfaces were also positive for PEDV RNA after the production of the contaminated feed, emphasizing the potential role dust plays in cross-contamination of pathogen throughout a manufacturing facility. Application of the cleaner, sanitizer, and heat were effective at reducing PEDV genomic material (P < 0.05), but did not completely eliminate it.

<![CDATA[Innovative Approaches Using Lichen Enriched Media to Improve Isolation and Culturability of Lichen Associated Bacteria]]>

Lichens, self-supporting mutualistic associations between a fungal partner and one or more photosynthetic partners, also harbor non-photosynthetic bacteria. The diversity and contribution of these bacteria to the functioning of lichen symbiosis have recently begun to be studied, often by culture-independent techniques due to difficulties in their isolation and culture. However, culturing as yet unculturable lichenic bacteria is critical to unravel their potential functional roles in lichen symbiogenesis, to explore and exploit their biotechnological potential and for the description of new taxa. Our objective was to improve the recovery of lichen associated bacteria by developing novel isolation and culture approaches, initially using the lichen Pseudevernia furfuracea. We evaluated the effect of newly developed media enriched with novel lichen extracts, as well as the influence of thalli washing time and different disinfection and processing protocols of thalli. The developed methodology included: i) the use of lichen enriched media to mimic lichen nutrients, supplemented with the fungicide natamycin; ii) an extended washing of thalli to increase the recovery of ectolichenic bacteria, thus allowing the disinfection of thalli to be discarded, hence enhancing endolichenic bacteria recovery; and iii) the use of an antioxidant buffer to prevent or reduce oxidative stress during thalli disruption. The optimized methodology allowed significant increases in the number and diversity of culturable bacteria associated with P. furfuracea, and it was also successfully applied to the lichens Ramalina farinacea and Parmotrema pseudotinctorum. Furthermore, we provide, for the first time, data on the abundance of culturable ecto- and endolichenic bacteria that naturally colonize P. furfuracea, R. farinacea and P. pseudotinctorum, some of which were only able to grow on lichen enriched media. This innovative methodology is also applicable to other microorganisms inhabiting these and other lichen species.

<![CDATA[Volunteer trials of a novel improvised dry decontamination protocol for use during mass casualty incidents as part of the UK’S Initial Operational Response (IOR)]]>

Previous studies have demonstrated that rapid evacuation, disrobing and emergency decontamination can enhance the ability of emergency services and acute hospitals to effectively manage chemically-contaminated casualties. The purpose of this human volunteer study was to further optimise such an “Initial Operational Response” by (1) identifying an appropriate method for performing improvised skin decontamination and (2) providing guidance for use by first responders and casualties. The study was performed using two readily available, absorbent materials (paper towels and incontinence pads). The decontamination effectiveness of the test materials was measured by quantifying the amount of a chemical warfare agent simulant (methyl salicylate) removed from each volunteer’s forearm skin. Results from the first study demonstrated that simulant recovery was lower in all of the dry decontamination conditions when compared to matched controls, suggesting that dry decontamination serves to reduce chemical exposure. Blotting in combination with rubbing was the most effective form of decontamination. There was no difference in effectiveness between the two absorbent materials. In the following study, volunteers performed improvised dry decontamination, either with or without draft guidelines. Volunteers who received the guidance were able to carry out improvised dry decontamination more effectively, using more of the absorbent product (blue roll) to ensure that all areas of the body were decontaminated and avoiding cross-contamination of other body areas by working systematically from the head downwards. Collectively, these two studies suggest that absorbent products that are available on ambulances and in acute healthcare settings may have generic applicability for improvised dry decontamination. Wherever possible, emergency responders and healthcare workers should guide casualties through decontamination steps; in the absence of explicit guidance and instructions, improvised dry decontamination may not be performed correctly or safely.