Application of quantitative microbial risk assessment for selection of microbial reduction targets for hard surface disinfectants

Michael O. Ryan, Charles N. Haas, Patrick L. Gurian, Charles P. Gerba, Brian M. Panzl, Joan B. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: This quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) included problem formulation for fomites and hazard identification for 7 microorganisms, including pathogenic Escherichia coli and E coli 0157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, norovirus, Pseudomonas spp, Salmonella spp, and Staphylococcus aureus. The goal was to address a risk-based process for choosing the log10 reduction recommendations, in contrast to the current US Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Method: For each microbe evaluated, the QMRA model included specific dose-response models, occurrence determination of aerobic bacteria and specific organisms on fomites, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and risk reduction. Risk estimates were determined for a simple scenario using a single touch of a contaminated surface and self-inoculation. A comparative analysis of log10 reductions, as suggested by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the risks based on this QMRA approach was also undertaken. Results: The literature review and meta-analysis showed that aerobic bacteria were the most commonly studied on fomites, averaging 100 colony-forming units (CFU)/cm2. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was found at a level of 3.3 × 10-1 CFU/cm2; methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), at 6.4 × 10-1 CFU/cm2. Risk estimates per contact event ranged from a high of 10-3 for norovirus to a low of 10-9 for S aureus. Conclusion: This QMRA analysis suggests that a reduction in bacterial numbers on a fomite by 99% (2 logs) most often will reduce the risk of infection from a single contact to less than 1 in 1 million.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1172
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014


  • Dose-response
  • Fomite
  • Microbial surface contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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