Program Schedule

Use Specific Quaternary Ammonium Formulations for controlling the spread of Noroviruses in Institutions

Session: Poster Abstract Session: Viral Infections: Treatment and Prevention
Friday, October 10, 2014
Room: The Pennsylvania Convention Center: IDExpo Hall BC

Noroviruses have caused numerous outbreaks in health care environments and in other institutions (schools, hotels, cruise ships, etc.). They survive well on surfaces and have a low infectious dose. Selection of proper disinfectants and cleaning tools are critical in controlling the spread of these viruses.  Quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) are active ingredients for many common disinfectants used in the households and institutions. Successful application depends upon selecting the proper formulation for the target organism(s), the specific need (i.e. fomite, hand sanitizer), and application (spray, disposable wipe). 


We evaluated the application of QAC’s registered by the EPA for efficacy against norovirus in different settings for controlling their spread.  QAC formulations known to be effective against noroviruses were first evaluated in the laboratory to confirm their effectiveness. QAC-based formulation wipes delivered a more controlled dose of QAC to the treated surface. The first intervention involved an elementary school in which QAC wipes were used in six class rooms to wipe the children’s desk tops at the end of the school day over a period of three months. The occurrence and concentration of norovirus on classroom surfaces was compared to an equal number of classrooms which did not use wipes.


Norovirus was commonly detected on classroom surfaces during the winter in classrooms that did not use QAC wipes. The concentration of norovirus was statistically significantly lower (by 99.9%) in the classrooms using the wipes. In addition, absenteeism rates were statiscally significantly less in the classrooms using the wipes. In a second intervention we assessed the impact of cleaning dormitories which were closed after an outbreak of norovirus. Norovirus was detected on 73% of the surfaces tested in the dorm rooms after the outbreak. A onetime use of QAC wipes by cleaning crews resulted in the virus being detect on fewer than 30% of the surfaces. 


The results indicate that QAC –based formulations known to be effective against norovirus can result in decreased exposure to noroviruses (and related viruses such as SARS) in venues such as schools and offices where close contact with others facilitates rapid disease spread.

Charles Gerba, Ph.D., Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and Kelly Bright, Soil Water & Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ


C. Gerba, Consumer Specialty Products Association: Consultant, Consulting fee

K. Bright, None

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EDT, Oct. 8th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.

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