Public health education on environmental hygiene is an essential element in the control of spread of infection during outbreaks. However, there is one group of objects linked to the spread of contagious diseases many health educators fail to bring to public notice; these are the “Door handles and knobs” to our homes and public places. Many people sanitize almost everything during disinfection but fail deal with the door handles and knobs.
The handles of doors to public places and our homes are good at becoming a major source of spread of infectious agents during outbreaks. The surfaces of these objects receive infectious agents from contaminated hands and pass them on to the hands of uninfected individuals.
They are able to serve as excellent breeding grounds for some infectious agents, especially food and water borne infectious agents. For the period these objects bearing the infectious agent remain contaminated, they serve as fomites for onward spread of these agents.
Of prime public health concern are the spore-formers. They can linger on the surfaces of these objects for extended periods of time. For this reason, it is imperative that door handles and knobs to public places and our homes are regularly disinfected to get rid or keep low the microbial load of infectious agents that may be on their surfaces.
The next time you disinfect your home, do sanitize the door handles and knobs; especially those of the main entrance to your home, toilets and bathrooms. Keeping the microbial load of infectious agents on these objects low will do our homes and the general public a lot of good.