Significance of fomites in the spread of respiratory and enteric viral disease

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Worldwide annually there are 1.7 million deaths from diarrheal diseases and 1.5 million deaths from respiratory infections (56). Viruses cause an estimated 60% of human infections, and most common illnesses are produced by respiratory and enteric viruses (7, 49). Unlike bacterial disease, viral illness cannot be resolved with the use of antibiotics. Prevention and management of viral disease heavily relies upon vaccines and antiviral medications (49). Both vaccines and antiviral medications are only 60% effective (39, 49). Additionally, to date there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs for most common enteric and respiratory viruses with the exception of influenza virus and hepatitis A virus (HAV). Consequently, viral disease spread is most effectively deterred by preclusion of viral infection.

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