Epidemiology and Infection

Disease transmission

Effectiveness of environmental decontamination as an infection control measure

M. BANI-YAGHOUBa1 c1, R. GAUTAMa1, D. DÖPFERa2, C. W. KASPARa3 and R. IVANEKa1

a1 Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, USA

a2 Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

a3 Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

SUMMARY

The effectiveness of environmental decontamination (ED) as a measure in the control of infectious diseases is controversial. This work quantifies the effectiveness of ED by analysing the transmission of pathogens from the environment to susceptible hosts in a Susceptible–Infected–Susceptible model. Analysis of the model shows that ED can render a population disease-free only when the duration of infection (D) is within a certain range. As host-to-host transmission rate is increased, D falls outside this range and the higher levels of ED have a diminishing return in reducing the number of infected hosts at endemic equilibrium. To avoid this, ED can be combined with other control measures, such as treating infected individuals to push the duration of infection into the specified range. We propose decision criteria and minimum ED efforts required for control policies to be effective.

(Accepted March 11 2011)

(Online publication May 18 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr M. Bani-Yaghoub, Texas A & M University, Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, 4458 TAMUS College Station, TX 77843-4458, USA. (Email: MBani@cvm.tamu.edu)

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