Infections in a daycare setting make sense when one considers the prevalence of diapered children, who provide a ready source of exposure to potentially infected fecal material, especially as children in daycare may not yet have been vaccinated against HAV, and the natural behavior of children, which is to put anything and everything into their mouths, including items potentially contaminated with infected feces, all add up to transmission risk. Children don’t have good hygiene habits and they can easily contaminate themselves, shared toys, shared surfaces, and practically anything else they can touch. Daycare settings, along with most any other place with restroom facilities, or even places without public restrooms that have shared surfaces could potentially be a source of infection and should be concerned about taking realistic steps to eliminate potential HAV contamination from shared objects and surfaces. But one big problem is deciding on an effective, easy to use, and reasonably safe option for the elimination and control of HAV from the environment, including household environments and surfaces.
Other Hepatitis Meanings and Viruses
It would be remiss to not note that there are other hepatitis viruses in the world, and to also be clear about the use of the term “hepatitis.” To be clear, the term hepatitis is a medical term that refers to the inflammation of the liver. This inflammation can be caused by one of the several viruses that incorporate “hepatitis” into their names, but it can also be caused by other factors, both infectious and non-infectious. If you, or someone you know or care about, is diagnosed with “hepatitis,” be sure you are clear with your healthcare provider about what is causing the inflammation and about any precautions that may need to be taken both to minimize damage to the liver and to help prevent the spread of the infection to others.
There are several other viruses that include “hepatitis” in their proper names. Hepatitis B, which has been discussed at length in a previous post to this series, is primarily a blood-borne infection that is now vaccine preventable but which can cause long term illness or severe liver damage. Hepatitis C has many important similarities to Hepatitis B, including being a blood-borne infection, but it is much more likely to cause long-term disease and liver damage, and it remains, unfortunately, not vaccine preventable. Hepatitis C is discussed at greater length in the same post as Hepatitis B. Hepatitis E, which is uncommon in the United States but which is not uncommon among travelers to the developing world, including Mexico, is very similar to Hepatitis A and is usually food or water borne. Unlike Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E is not vaccine preventable. Hepatitis D is an incomplete virus and cannot cause infection on its own. Hepatitis D can only cause illness when Hepatitis B Virus is also present; therefore, Hepatitis D is vaccine preventable, by extension of the Hepatitis B vaccine, because if Hepatitis B is prevented, Hepatitis D is incapable of causing infection. Hepatitis G Virus, now known primarily as GBV-C, is known to infect humans but it is not believed to cause illness, or at least, not long term illness. There is some evidence that persons infected with both GBV-C and HIV live longer than those without GBV-C co-infection, but this relationship has not been extensively studied and is not understood. GBV-C infection is quite common among those infected with HCV and others with risk factors for HCV infection. Hepatitis F Virus was believed to have been discovered and was thus named in increasing alphabetical order following nomenclature tradition, but its existence has never been confirmed and it is no longer believed to exist. Because the name was used, the next hepatitis virus to be discovered was named Hepatitis G Virus, discussed above. If yet another virus should be discovered that primarily causes liver inflammation, tradition suggests that it would be named Hepatitis H Virus. At this time, HHV does not exist, although a subtype of Hepatitis B Virus is lettered H and may cause confusion among some people. That virus is simply a type of HBV and is not a separate virus in its own right.
HAV Prevention Basics
One basic requirement must be that the disinfectant agent being selected must have a proven, documented and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification as effective against HAV or there is no reasonable proof that the agent will provide the essential level of protection being sought after. Most products that sell themselves as “disinfectant cleaners” have not, in fact, been tested and certified by the EPA as effective against any specific pathogen and certainly not against HAV. That process is exhaustive, lengthy, and potentially expensive and as long as consumers remain unaware of the importance of this certification, such products can continue to sell themselves to unsuspecting consumers who may believe they are purchasing a level of protection that they are, in fact, not being provided.
Viraguard Solutions to HAV Contamination
Fortunately, the folks at CleanerToday.com have an easy to use solution in the form of the Viraguard family of products! Viraguard, which has undergone the rigorous testing and certification process required by the EPA to demonstrate its effectiveness against HAV is an excellent solution to any HAV need. It comes in a convenient bulk size for large jobs or for frequent cleanings which are a daily occurrence in institutions of all sizes, especially day care settings.