Viral illnesses such as gastroenteritis and the common cold create a substantial burden in the workplace due to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased health care costs. Behaviors in the workplace contribute to the spread of human viruses via direct contact between hands, contaminated surfaces, and the mouth, eyes, and/or nose. This study assessed whether implementation of the Healthy Workplace Project (HWP) (providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, facial tissues, and use instructions) would reduce viral loads in an office setting of approximately 80 employees after seeding fomites and the hands of volunteer participants with an MS-2 phage tracer. The HWP significantly reduced viable phage detected on participants’ hands, communal fomites, and personal fomites (p ≤.010) in office environments and presents a cost-effective method for reducing the health and economic burden associated with viral illnesses in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Environmental and Occupational Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2016


  • Fomite contamination; indoor pathogen transmission; office workers; workplace illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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