Understandably with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there continues to be a lot of discussion around minimising the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As the dark nights draw in and temperatures plummet however, pathogens like Norovirus are widely expected to resurface, placing healthcare facilities under greater pressure and increasing the risk to those most vulnerable.

As we’re all too aware, Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. For many people it can be very unpleasant, but often goes away after a couple of days. For many others however it can be far more serious.

Norovirus affects over 700 million people worldwide per year, killing about 219,000 and resulting in an estimated £2.8 billion in health care costs.1 The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how easily viruses can be transmitted from person to person, with hospitals bracing themselves for the annual wave of cases that materialise every winter.


How does Norovirus spread?

Norovirus can spread very easily through:

  • Close contact with someone with Norovirus
  • Touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth
  • Eating food that's been prepared or handled by someone with Norovirus

How to prevent Norovirus

The NHS website aims to educate people about preventing Norovirus, highlighting that alcohol hand gels do not kill Norovirus. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading. In instances where hand washing isn’t available, using a wipe to clean your hands has been proven to remove over 99% of contamination, helping to minimise the risk of transmission.2

Surface cleaning & disinfection is also an effective way of stopping the spread. Various studies have shown that contaminated surfaces are an established route of transmission for high-risk pathogens, including Norovirus.3 Improved environmental hygiene can reduce the number of people acquiring harmful microorganisms, making choosing the right product important.4

Getting it right

Effective surface disinfection requires a combination of appropriate product and practice. Multiple human factors can affect cleaning and disinfection outcomes, with some observational studies noting that high-touch surfaces are sometimes only briefly wiped, sometimes for as little as 1-2 seconds.5

Using the right amount of wipes for the right amount of time is critical to achieving effective surface disinfection. A recent study found that a wipe’s effectiveness was significantly greater when only a 1-2ft2 area was wiped, as opposed to when an 8 ft2 area was wiped with a single wipe.6

It is vitally important to take advantage of the resources available and our experienced team are on hand to provide advice and training for you and your teams to help ensure effective surface cleaning and disinfection practices, helping to minimise the risk of cross-infection.


As an established brand within healthcare sector for over 35 years, Azo™ encompasses a full product portfolio which can be tailored for general purpose to specialist cleaning and disinfecting; including medical areas. The Azo™ range is extensively used in hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, laboratories, dental and GP surgeries to help reduce contamination and the risk of infection.


Download our latest Azo brochure here.




  1. Bartsch S.M. et al. (2016) Global Economic Burden of Norovirus Gastroenteritis. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0151219. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151219.
  2. Vernacare (2020) Conti wet wipes bacteria removal testing, Tested to BS EN 1500:2013.
  3. Otter, J.A. et al. (2016) Transmission of SARS and MERS coronaviruses and influenza virus in healthcare settings: the possible role of dry surface contamination. Journal of Hospital Infection. 92 235e250
  4. Garvey et al. (2018) Wiping out MRSA: effect of introducing a universal disinfection wipe in a large UK teaching hospital. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.;7(1).
  5. West, et al. (2018) Surface area wiped, product type, and target strain impact bactericidal efficacy of ready-to-use disinfectant towelettes. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control;7:122.
  6. Boyce, J, M. (2020) A review of wipes used to disinfect hard surfaces in health care facilities. American Journal of Infection Control.

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