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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742435


The current coronavirus pandemic has increased worldwide consumption of individual protective devices. Single-use surgical masks are one of the most used devices to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Nevertheless, the improper management of such protective equipment threatens our environment with a new form of plastic pollution. With the intention of contributing to a responsible policy of recycling, in the present work, five decontamination methods for used surgical masks that can be easily replicated with common household equipment are described. The decontamination procedures were hot water at 40 °C and 80 °C; autoclave; microwave at 750 W; and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. After each decontamination procedure, the bacterial load reduction of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 was recorded to verify the effectiveness of these methods and, moreover, bacterial filtration efficiency and breathability tests were performed to evaluate mask performances. The best results were obtained with the immersion in 80 °C water and the microwave-assisted sterilization. Both methods achieved a high degree of mask decontamination without altering the filtration efficiency and breathability, in accordance with the quality standard. The proposed decontamination methods represent a useful approach to reduce the environmental impact of this new waste material. Moreover, these procedures can be easily reproduced with common household equipment to increase the recycling efforts.

COVID-19 , Household Articles , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Filtration , Humans , Masks
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 350, 2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186555


BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 infection has emerged as a rapidly spreading infection. Today it is relatively easy to isolate Covid-19 symptomatic cases, while remains problematic to control the disease spread by infected but symptom-free individuals. The control of this possible path of contagion requires drastic measures of social distancing, which imply the suspension of most activities and generate economic and social issues. This study is aimed at estimating the percentage of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in a geographic area with relatively low incidence of Covid-19. METHODS: Blood serum samples from 388 healthy volunteers were analyzed for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG by using an ELISA assay based on recombinant viral nucleocapsid protein. RESULTS: We found that 7 out of 388 healthy volunteers, who declared no symptoms of Covid-19, like fever, cough, fatigue etc., in the preceding 5 months, have bona fide serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, that is 1.8% of the asymptomatic population (95% confidence interval: 0.69-2.91%). CONCLUSIONS: The estimated range of asymptomatic individuals with anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG should be between 26,565 and 112, 350. In the same geographic area, there are 4665 symptomatic diagnosed cases.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Incidence , Italy/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Young Adult