Date of Award

5-13-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Abstract

Healthcare providers encounter a wide range of hazards on the job, including exposure to infectious diseases. Protecting them from occupational infectious disease is very important. Healthcare workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) as a measure to decrease the risk of getting infected during patient care. For high-risk diseases like Ebola, Tyvek suits are coverall suits that protect the body and reduce the risk of body fluid exposure. However, a person removing a contaminated suit may also be exposed to virus. Previous studies have shown that enveloped viruses can survive on different types of surfaces, so the objective of this study is to determine the inactivation of bacteriophage Φ6, a surrogate for enveloped human virus, on the surface of Tyvek suits at two different relative humidity levels, 40% and 60% at 22°C. The results showed the inactivation rate of virus was higher at 60% RH than 40% RH. There was ~3log10 (99.9%) reduction of virus inactivation after 6 hours at 40% but ~3log10 (99.9%) inactivation took 9 hours at 60%. This suggests that enveloped viruses can survive on the surface of Tyvek suits for more than 6 hours, and should be considered a potential risk for contamination when they are taken off after use.

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