According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “A disease outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal expectancy. The number of cases varies according to the disease-causing agent, and the size and type of previous and existing exposure to the agent.”
Disease outbreaks are usually caused by an infection, transmitted through person-to-person contact, animal-to-person contact, or from the environment or other media.
Outbreaks may also occur following exposure to chemicals or to radioactive materials. Occasionally the cause of an outbreak is unknown, even after thorough investigation.
The current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019 and the impact and spread of the virus is widely publicised and at the forefront of the media worldwide.
In early February 2020 it is reported that more that 40,000 people have tested positive to being infected with the virus and more than 1,000 deaths have resulted.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. They are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How to Protect Yourself
Personal hygiene is a key element in minimising the spread of infectious diseases. Every person plays a role and can take responsibility by following a few standard recommendations:
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty. This eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
Practice respiratory hygiene
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. This prevents the spread of germs and viruses.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. This reduces your risk of breathing in the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Whenever you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing it’s important to seek medical attention promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Tell your health care provider if you have travelled in an area in China where 2019-nCoV has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has travelled from China and has respiratory symptoms.
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.
As a general precaution, practice general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets
Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands; and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.
Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products
Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
Protect yourself and others from getting sick
Cleaning and Infection Control
Whilst personal hygiene is important, environmental hygiene is also an important consideration.
Health.Vic outlines the following considerations for environmental and workplace cleaning and infection control:
- Thorough cleaning is important for infection control – particularly in work areas – because deposits of dust, soil and microbes on surfaces can transmit infection.
- Healthcare and other care facilities should maintain compliance and follow general cleaning procedures.
- Some facilities require specialised cleaning procedures.
- Waste disposal is also important for infection control. Different types of waste – general, clinical and pharmaceutical – have different waste management procedures that need to be followed.
In an Outbreak
Maintaining regular, professional and compliant cleaning and hygiene practices in your workplace – especially medical facilities, aged care, education, food services and hospitality – can be instrumental in minimising the spread of disease and infection.
In instances where an outbreak is suspected or confirmed, on request from the site, Jaymak mobilises our ‘specialist’ cleaning team and commences the service as quickly as possible.
All of Jaymak’s outbreak clean-up procedures adhere to the standards outlined in the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
For more information about how we can help protect your customers, staff and your business contact us today.
World Health Organisation : https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
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