Impacts of lid closure during toilet flushing and of toilet bowl cleaning on viral contamination of surfaces in United States restrooms

Madison P. Goforth, Stephanie A. Boone, Justin Clark, Priscilla B. Valenzuela, Julie McKinney, M. Khalid Ijaz, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Viral aerosols generated during toilet flushing represent a potential route of pathogen transmission. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of toilet lid closure prior to flushing on the generation of viral aerosols and cross-contamination of restroom fomites. Methods: A surrogate for human enteric viruses (bacteriophage MS2) was added to household and public toilet bowls and flushed. The resulting viral contamination of the toilet and other restroom surfaces was then determined. Results: After flushing the inoculated toilets, toilet seat bottoms averaged >107 PFU/100 cm2. Viral contamination of restroom surfaces did not depend on toilet lid position (up or down). After toilet bowls were cleaned using a bowl brush with or without a commercial product (hydrochloric acid), a >4 log10 (>99.99%) reduction in contamination of the toilet bowl water was observed versus no product. Bowl brush contamination was reduced by 1.6 log10 (97.64%) when the product was used versus no product. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that closing the toilet lid prior to flushing does not mitigate the risk of contaminating bathroom surfaces and that disinfection of all restroom surfaces (ie, toilet rim, floors) may be necessary after flushing or after toilet brush used for the reduction of virus cross-contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Aerosol generation
  • Environmental surface hygiene intervention
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Infection transmission
  • Virus dissemination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of lid closure during toilet flushing and of toilet bowl cleaning on viral contamination of surfaces in United States restrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this