Sunday, April 19, 2020

Doctors are urged to disinfect footwear because coronavirus survives on shoes

This week, coronavirus cases around the world hit 1.9 million, fuelling widespread panic about the spread of the virus.

Research has shown that the virus predominantly spreads through respiratory droplets in coughs and sneezes.

However, a new study has discovered that the virus can also survive on shoes, raising concerns about the footwear worn by hospital staff.

In the study, researchers from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences took swab samples from 39 coronavirus patients at Huoshenshan Hospital.

The team also sampled the air in the hospital, as well as the floors, computer mice, bins, sickened handrails, patient masks, personal protective equipment and the shoes of medical staff.

The results revealed that the floor contained relatively high levels of the virus.

In the study, the researchers, led by Zhen-Dong Guo, wrote: “The rate of positivity was relatively high for floor swab samples, perhaps because of gravity and air flow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground.

“In addition, as medical staff walk around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100% rate of positivity from the floor in the pharmacy, where there were no patients.”

Meanwhile, the results also revealed that many of the medical staff’s shoes tested positive for the virus.

The researchers said: “Half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive. Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.”

Based on the findings, the researchers are urging medical staff to regularly wash and disinfect their shoes.

The researchers added: “We highly recommend that persons disinfect shoe soles before walking out of wards containing COVID-19 patients.”

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