The World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) has responded to UK Chief Medical Officer’s request to add the threat of infections resistant to antibiotics to the UK risk register of civil emergencies.
Agreeing that the shortage of antibiotics could pose a serious threat to public safety, executive vice-president Andrew Large said: “The UK Chief Medical Officer’s request underlines the important part that cleaning plays in disease prevention. Strict hygiene standards are generally understood as essential in hospitals, but outside in schools, offices and on public transport they are not considered as necessary.”
Drawing attention to the WFBSC’s ongoing research into cleaning for health, Large added: “Cleaning is our first defence against disease. Strict hand washing combined with clean public spaces can slow and indeed halt the spread of infection. I urge all governments to invest in the cleaning of our public spaces sooner rather than later.”
The WFBSC press release points out that in the first wave of any pandemic, it’s very unlikely that a specific vaccination would be ready to inoculate the public, and good habitual cleaning practices will be play a vital role in disease prevention.
The WFBSC’s Cleaning for Health project focuses on best practice for integrating hospital cleaning standards into offices, schools, transport networks and other public spaces. The project is also reviewing the scientific literature on disinfectant products so as to provide up to date advice on the most suitable chemicals for frequent use.
The WFBSC will be holding its biennial Congress in New York City between 6 and 9 April 2014. One of the keynote speakers will be Dr Richard Besser, who was acting director for the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.