Use of ATP Readings to Predict a Successful Hygiene Intervention in the Workplace to Reduce the Spread of Viruses on Fomites

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to validate the use of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for evaluating hygiene intervention effectiveness in reducing viral dissemination in an office environment. The bacterial virus MS-2 was used to evaluate two scenarios, one where the hand of an individual was contaminated and another where a fomite was contaminated. MS-2 was selected as a model because its shape and size are similar to many human pathogenic viruses. Two separate experiments were conducted, one in which the entrance door push plate was inoculated and the other in which the hand of one selected employee was inoculated. In both scenarios, 54 selected surfaces in the office were tested to assess the dissemination of the virus within the office. Associated surface contamination was also measured employing an ATP meter. More than half of the tested hands and surfaces in the office were contaminated with MS-2 within 4 h. Next, an intervention was conducted, and each scenario was repeated. Half of the participating employees were provided hand sanitizer, facial tissues, and disinfecting wipes, and were instructed in their use. A significant (p < 0.05) reduction was observed in the number of surfaces contaminated with virus. This reduction in viral spread was evident from the results of both viral culture and the surface ATP measurements, although there was no direct correlation between ATP measurements with respect to viral concentration. Although ATP does not measure viruses, these results demonstrate that ATP measurements could be useful for evaluating the effectiveness of hygiene interventions aimed at preventing viral spread in the workplace.

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Correspondence to Charles P. Gerba.

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Sifuentes, L.Y., Fankem, S.L.M., Reynolds, K. et al. Use of ATP Readings to Predict a Successful Hygiene Intervention in the Workplace to Reduce the Spread of Viruses on Fomites. Food Environ Virol 9, 14–19 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12560-016-9256-2

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Keywords

  • Hygiene
  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Viral dispersion
  • Workplace
  • Intervention
  • MS-2 virus