Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause. Infectious diseases are caused by germs. Germs are tiny living things that are found everywhere. You can get infected by touching, eating, drinking or breathing something that contains a germ. Germs can also spread through animal and insect bites.


There are four main kinds of germs:

  • Bacteria - one-celled germs that multiply quickly and may release chemicals which can make you sick
  • Viruses - capsules that contain genetic material, and use your own cells to multiply Viruses
  • Fungi- primitive vegetables, like mold, mildew, tinea (athlete's foot)
  • Protozoa- one-celled animals that use other living things for food and a place to live


The most effective ways of reducing disease transmission is to erect "primary barriers" which prevent pathogens from entering the environment. <read more>


According to the European Center for Disease Prevention & Control, approximately 4,100,000 patients are estimated to acquire a health care-associated infection (HCAI) in the EU every year. The number of deaths occurring as the direct consequence of these infections is estimated to be at least 37,000. Approximately 20-30% of HCAI are considered to be preventable by intensive hygiene and control programs.


A recent survey determined that as many as 60% of all people are sick while traveling. This can be due to increased human contact with hard contamination surfaces of transport mediums, hotels, artificially circulated or air-conditioned air, etc.


Air travel has introduced its own special hygiene problems by way of food and water borne disease, waste disposal & transmission of illness by flying insects/rodents. Maintaining high hygiene standards is important to prevent iatrogenic health hazards.


Given this, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and cruise ships globally, are beginning to implement international accredited hygiene control programs like those of the international Hygiene Standards Institute (HSI), protecting their clients, business and staff.


Making the right decisions will not only improve public health, but also has the potential to protect economic productivity.


Bacteria & Viruses:

Improperly cleaned surfaces can become colonized with infectious bacteria and could play a role in staff and public infection. A limited list of common infections that could be spread by these incorrect hygiene practices includes:

Cold viruses (common cold):

  • Influenza (flu, e.g. 2009 H1N1 Swine flu)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Norovirus
  • Rota virus
  • Asthma
  • Malaria
  • Salmonella
  • Shigellosis
  • E. coli
  • Staphylococcus (staph infection)
  • Streptococcus (for example, skin infections, sore throat, impetigo, scarlet fever)
  • Hemophilias influenzas (H. flu, Hib)
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Infectious = the ability to be transmitted from on state, organism, or condition to another state, organism, or condition.


Survival time of germs on hard surfaces: 

Micro organism

Survival time

Possible illness

Enterococcus sp.

40 minutes

Urinary tract, wound infections


24 hours

Impetigo, scaled skin syndrome, internal organ infection

Salmonella entiritidis

24 hours

Intestinal infections

Influenza A & B

24 - 48 hours

Flu (Swine flu)


2-3 days

Common cold


10 – 14 days

Severe diarrhoea

Hepatitis A virus

30 days

Liver inflammation

Clostridium difficile spores

30 days

Severe diarrhoea

Vancomycin – resistant enterococcus

weeks - months

Urinary tract, wound infections