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Prevention and control practices for human noroviruses in long-term care facilities in South Carolina

      Highlights

      • Prevention and control strategies for human noroviruses were assessed.
      • Gaps were identified in long-term care facility policies in South Carolina.
      • Most facilities used disinfectants that are ineffective against human noroviruses.
      • Most vomit and fecal matter clean-up procedures did not account for aerosolization.
      • Outbreak practices might not control against person-to-person transmission.

      Background

      Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are the most common setting for human norovirus (HuNoV) outbreak. Our study aimed to determine gaps in prevention and control practices for HuNoV in LTCFs in South Carolina (SC).

      Methods

      Two researchers visited a convenience sample of 26 LTCFs in SC during July-November 2013. Directors were interviewed to determine facility prevention and control practices. Relative frequencies and means were calculated using SAS 9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC).

      Results

      Most directors had little knowledge of proper sanitizing and disinfecting products and reported missing written procedures for cleaning staff-visitor bathrooms. Only 18 had recommendations for when residents should wash hands. Many used the wrong products for pathogen removal after vomit-fecal events, had no written procedures for cleaning contaminated soft surfaces, did not remove other individuals during clean-up of vomit-fecal episodes, and did not clean a large area surrounding vomit-fecal episodes. Eighteen did not assign specific staff to care for sick; 16 did not designate specific toilets for sick; and 15 did not restrict visitors during an outbreak.

      Conclusion

      Directors' responses indicated gaps in prevention and control practices for HuNoV in LTCFs in SC.

      Key Words

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