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Bacterial and Viral Lifespans on Surfaces

In today’s climate, concern over dangerous pathogens is at an all-time high as people are donning face masks and maintaining social distancing from others in public. One area that may be overlooked is germs lingering on various surfaces, such as countertops, tables, and walls.

The length of time pathogens remain on surfaces differs with viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Viruses can live on surfaces for several days and can remain infectious during that time. The lifespan of some viruses, such as the coronavirus, are impacted by outside factors as well, such as temperature and sunlight. UV sunlight is efficient in killing the coronavirus.

The Coronavirus can last on surfaces for hours, and even days, but the virus survives longer in cold places with no sunlight. Common viruses that can be transmitted on hard surfaces include COVID-19, flu, pneumonia, ebola, zika, polio, measles, and chickenpox.

Viruses differ from bacteria in both size and reproduction method. Viruses are up to 1000 times smaller than bacteria and require the aid of a living cell to reproduce, while bacteria are single-celled organisms that reproduce asexually, independently of outside hosts.

Species of bacteria that can be found on surfaces include E. Coli, staphyloccus auereus (MRSA), enterococcus (VRE), listeria, tuberculosis, and strep among others. Some bacteria tend to survive for shorter periods of time than others. E. Coli and Klebsiella spp. can survive for months on end on hard surfaces. Other bacteria such as staphyloccus auereus (MRSA and enterococcus (VRE) also demonstrate the ability to survive on surfaces for long periods of time.

Fungi such as candida albicans can live for four months on hard surfaces, and yeasts including torulopsis glabrata survive for five months.

Cleaning surfaces regularly with soap and water is imperative and will remove dangerous pathogens. In most cases, however, people tend to clean surfaces with disinfectants periodically, the efficacy of which is questionable, as the effects of cleaning are short-term. The surface is still open to renewed contamination, especially in the case of hospitals, daycares, and other high-traffic areas.

FORTIFI™ functional coatings with SilvaKure™ provide additional protection against dangerous pathogens. The EPA registered anti-microbial silver ion technology incorporated into SilvaKure™ destroys the outer membrane of bacteria and the pathogens unable to reproduce.