Osong Public Health Res Perspect.  2020 May;11(3):128-132. 10.24171/j.phrp.2020.11.3.03.

Detection of Novel Coronavirus on the Surface of Environmental Materials Contaminated by COVID-19 Patients in the Republic of Korea

Affiliations
  • 0Center for Laboratory Control of Infectious Diseases, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chungju,
  • 0Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chungju,
  • 0Center for Infectious Disease Control, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chungju,
  • 0National Center for Medical Information and Knowledge, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chungju,

Abstract

This study aimed to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces frequently touched by COVID-19 patients, and assess the scope of contamination and transmissibility in facilities where the outbreaks occurred. In the course of this epidemiological investigation, a total of 80 environmental specimens were collected from 6 hospitals (68 specimens) and 2 “mass facilities” (6 specimens from a rehabilitation center and 6 specimens from an apartment building complex). Specific reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction targeting of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and envelope genes, were used to identify the presence of this novel coronavirus. The 68 specimens from 6 hospitals (A, B, C, D, E, and G), where prior disinfection/cleaning had been performed before environmental sampling, tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. However, 2 out of 12 specimens (16.7%) from 2 “mass facilities” (F and H), where prior disinfection/cleaning had not taken place, were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase, and envelope genes. These results suggest that prompt disinfection and cleaning of potentially contaminated surfaces is an effective infection control measure. By inactivating SARS-CoV-2 with disinfection/cleaning the infectivity and transmission of the virus is blocked. This investigation of environmental sampling may help in the understanding of risk assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in “mass facilities” and provide guidance in using effective disinfectants on contaminated surfaces.


Keyword

COVID-19; disinfection; Republic of Korea; environmental sample
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