What are Pathogens?
Pathogens are infectious microorganisms that can infect humans, animals, and plants. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and prions are examples of pathogens. They can infect and invade host organisms, resulting in various symptoms and health issues.
Bacteria are unicellular organisms that can cause strep throat, pneumonia, and food poisoning. Even smaller than bacteria, viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell. As a result, they cause illnesses like influenza, HIV, and COVID-19. Infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candidiasis can be caused by fungi, which are multicellular organisms. Malaria, amoebic dysentery, and toxoplasmosis are diseases that protozoa can cause.
Pathogens can infect and invade host organisms via several routes, including air, water, food, and contact with contaminated surfaces or bodily fluids. They can evade the immune system and cause damage to the tissues and organs of the host, resulting in symptoms such as fever, inflammation, and tissue damage.
It is vital for maintaining public health to prevent the spread of pathogens. This can be accomplished through vaccination, hand hygiene, safe food handling practices, and antibiotics. Further, it is essential to prevent the spread of pathogens in healthcare settings by properly using infection prevention and control measures, such as personal protective equipment, disinfection and sterilization of equipment, and isolation precautions for patients with contagious diseases.
There are several ways for businesses to clean and remove pathogens from their facilities, depending on the nature and severity of the pathogens. Here are some frequent procedures:
- Disinfectants: Utilizing EPA-registered disinfectants, businesses can eliminate viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens from surfaces. To ensure efficacy, disinfectants should be applied per the manufacturer’s instructions and left on the surface for the recommended time.
- UV-C light: UV-C light can be used to disinfect surfaces and the air in a room. UV-C light kills pathogens by causing DNA or RNA damage, rendering them incapable of reproduction. Businesses may use portable UV-C devices or install UV-C fixtures in HVAC systems to disinfect the air.
- Electrostatic sprayers: Surfaces can be disinfected using electrostatic sprayers. The sprayers charge the disinfectant particles, which then adhere to surfaces and envelop them to cover inaccessible regions. This method may be more effective than manual cleaning and reduce the amount of disinfectant required.
- Steam cleaning is an effective method for killing pathogens on surfaces, especially when chemicals are not permitted. In addition to killing bacteria and viruses, the high steam temperature removes dirt and grime.
- Manual cleaning: Using soap and water is an effective method for removing pathogens from surfaces. This method should be used in conjunction with disinfectants or other cleaning techniques to ensure the elimination of all pathogens.
Businesses should develop a comprehensive cleaning plan incorporating multiple methods to effectively remove pathogens from their facilities. To ensure the safety and health of everyone in the building, they should also train their employees in proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures.