ICS Magazine

RIA Addresses H1N1 Influenza Clean-up Issues

May 4, 2009

Columbia, Maryland – Based on concerns regarding the transmission of and clean up from the H1N1 (swine) influenza virus, the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) provides these recommendations for cleaning and restoration professionals, as well as building services personnel called in for remediation following an outbreak.

The H1N1 flu is considered a Type A influenza virus, so the normal protocols followed for outbreaks of norovirus and other types of flu should be utilized. According to the Dept. of Health & Human Services pandemic website, survival times for influenza A particles on surfaces vary from 8-12 hours on paper or cloth to 24-48 hours in ambient temperatures on non-porous surfaces such as doorknobs, counters, desks and the like. When surfaces are wet, the influenza A virus can survive up to 72 hours.

Microbial contaminants should be removed with damp wiping, air scrubbing, and other methods that will effectively eliminate them from the environment. The EPA believes that currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009-H1N1 virus. Products should be used in accordance with the instructions on the label.

Recommended personal protective equipment for remediation professionals includes: disposable Tyvek® suits; shoe covers/booties; non-permeable gloves; splash resistant goggles and an N-95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator certified by NIOSH and appropriately fit-tested.

“Utilizing proper PPE and following established protocols for the remediation of influenza particles will protect both the workers and those exposed to the compromised environments,” said RIA President Jeff Jones, CRS. “Cleaning and restoration professionals frequently encounter these types of situations and understand the importance of handling them safely and effectively.”

A fact sheet on cleaning and remediation recommendations for the H1N1 influenza is available from RIA by calling 443-878-1000 or visiting www.restorationindustry.org.