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Environmental surface contamination with SARS-CoV-2 - a short review


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Abstract

A highly contagious virus causing an illness called COVID-19 has rapidly emerged in the last four months. The growing demand for intensive healthcare, a rising death toll and disruption to supply chains and trade has led to mass implementation of testing, quarantine and lockdown in an effort to limit virus transmission.  There are two ways to contract the virus: person-to-person (direct contact) or indirect (non-contact) transmission.  This paper examines what is known to date about non-contact transmission in the built environment in the form of a mini review.  The main takeaway message is that high-touch surfaces, toilets and often over-looked objects and surfaces are virus reservoirs and that transmission almost always occurs indoors. The use of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction surveillance (RT-PCR, qPCR) in combination with careful or improved hand hygiene practice and regular surface disinfection cleaning can reduce the environmental viral burden and should not be overlooked or given preference over social distancing interventions.   

Keywords

SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, fomites, environmental cleaning, surface contamination, non-contact transmission, environmental screening, surveillance, disinfection, RT-PCR, qPCR

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