Skip to content

H1N1 Influenza Virus (Swine Flu) – How long does the virus last on different surfaces?

September 17, 2009

This is a frequently asked question.  When you are cleaning surfaces it is good to know how long the virus is viable. A frequently cited study about survival of influenza viruses on environmental surface indicates that:

Influenza is a hearty virus - can survive up to 48 hours!

Influenza is a hearty virus - can survive up to 48 hours!

  • Influenza A viruses survive 24-48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, but survive for less than 8-12 hours on cloth, paper, and tissues at conditions of 35% to 49% humidity and a temperature of 28 ºC (≅ 82ºF).
  • Measurable quantities of influenza virus transfer from stainless steel surfaces to hands for 24 hours and from tissues to hands for up to 15 minutes.
  • The virus survives on hands for up to 5 minutes after transfer from the environmental surfaces.

Look around your office and make a plan to keep your area clean.  Where should you focus your attention? The most contaminated surfaces on your desk are:

  • Telephone – a good rule is to only use your phone!
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Desk surface
Your phone is the "germiest" thing on your desk!  Clean it daily!

Your phone is the "germiest" thing on your desk! Clean it daily!

A good way to start your day is to wipe down these surfaces with a disinfectant wipe before you start your work.

To help prevent transmission of the virus, follow these simple steps:

  • Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected with an U.S. EPA-registered bleach-based solution or disinfectant product.
  • Surfaces to disinfect include bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, toys for children, doorknobs, light switches, telephones and refrigerator handles.
  • Use disinfectant wipes for frequently touched electronic items such as computer mouse and keyboards, phones and remote controls, etc.

The Clorox company has a variety of very well written resource sheets that are in a PDF format.  These information sheets cover cleaning issues in the classroom, home and workplace.  Check out their website at http://www.clorox.com/healthier_lives/cold_flu/article.php?subsection=h1n1&article_id=swine_flu

B. Bean, B. Moore, et.al. Survival of Influenza Viruses on Environmental Surfaces. Journal of Infectious Diseases. V. 146(1), 47-51, July 1982. Abstract.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=6282993&dopt=Abstract

Clorox http://www.clorox.com/healthier_lives/cold_flu/article.php?subsection=h1n1&article_id=swine_flu

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: