The healthcare environment serves as one of the possible routes of transmission of epidemiologically important pathogens, but the role of the contaminated environment on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission remains unclear. We reviewed survival, contamination, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via environmental surfaces and shared medical devices as well as environmental disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, have been demonstrated to survive for hours to days on environmental surfaces depending on experimental conditions. The healthcare environment is frequently contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 RNA in most studies but without evidence of viable virus. Although direct exposure to respiratory droplets is the main transmission route of SARS-CoV-2, the contaminated healthcare environment can potentially result in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as described with other coronaviruses such as SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses. It is important to improve thoroughness of cleaning/disinfection practices in healthcare facilities and select effective disinfectants to decontaminate inanimate surfaces and shared patient care items.
- control measures
- healthcare environment