The survival and inactivation of enteric viruses on soft surfaces: A systematic review of the literature


      • Summarizes current literature on enteric virus survival and inactivation on soft surfaces.
      • New quality assessment tool for evaluating laboratory-based microbiological studies.
      • Enteric viruses capable of surviving extended periods on soft surfaces.
      • Enteric viruses resistant commonly used sanitizers on soft surfaces.


      Worldwide, enteric viruses are the main cause of acute gastroenteritis. In humans, these viruses spread via person-to-person contact, food, water, and/or the environment. Their survival and inactivation on hard surfaces have been extensively studied; however, nonlaunderable soft surfaces, such as upholstery and carpet, have received little attention. The aim of this systematic review was to determine factors that influence the survival and inactivation of enteric viruses on nonlaunderable soft surfaces.


      EBSCO and Web of Science were searched for experimental studies published between 1965 and 2015 using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses methods. Titles and abstracts were screened using 3 eligibility criteria. The quality of all study methods was also assessed.


      Our search yielded 12 articles. Viruses survived between 0 hours and 140 days depending on surface and environment conditions. Virus survival was influenced by temperature, relative humidity, organic content, and deposition method. A variety of chemistries were tested across studies and were shown to have a varied effect on enteric viruses. Chlorine, glutaraldehyde, vaporous ozone, and hydrogen peroxide were the most efficacious against enteric viruses (> 3-log reduction).


      Environmental factors, such as temperature and relative humidity, can influence survival of enteric viruses on nonlaunderable soft surfaces. The efficacy of liquid and vaporous chemistries are associated with surface and virus type.

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