You may have noticed on the news that Norovirus has been spreading rapidly around Tokyo. Many of my friends and their babies have had it over the last 10 days, and my baby also came down with vomiting and diarrhea on the weekend.
Here is an important leaflet from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW):
The MHLW leaflet is all in Japanese, but is an excellent fact sheet, so we decided to translate some of the key points:
- Symptoms appear 24 to 48 hours after exposure.
- Special care needs to be given in the case of babies and elderly people, who might inhale their vomit and suffocate or contract pneumonia.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap after going to the toilet, before cooking food, before eating
- When you wash your hands, be careful to wash the places that easily collect dirt – between fingers, under finger nails, around wrist
How to kill the virus?
There are 2 methods:
1). Disinfection by chlorine
– Wipe with a cloth moistened with hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 200ppm
How to make hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 200ppm?
– Fill a 3L pet bottle with tap water, and then pour in 10m chlorine bleach (6% concentration kitchen bleach). You can find kitchen bleach (called “kitchen haita” in Japanese) in supermarkets, drug stores or convenience stores in Japan. Here is the link to kitchen bleach on Amazon Japan.
– For the prevention of food poisoning caused by norovirus, MHLW recommends that foods be subjected to heat treatment at higher than 85°C for 1 min or more.
How to avoid spreading Norovirus?
Wash/sterilize the following items of the infected person separately:
- Used towel
- Cloth, towel, or anything that has been contaminated
- All dishes which the infected person used needs to be sterilized with hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 200ppm.
- Curtains, clothes, and door knobs must be sterilized with hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 200ppm.
- For clothes washing, soak the clothes in water with detergent and wash slowly with your hand (using glove) before using washing machine. If you use a chlorine based detergent, or wash the clothes for 1min in hot water (more than 85 degrees celcius), it is much more effective. Placing washed clothes in a dryer with high temperature will also help to kill the virus.
2. Vomit clean-up
When you clean-up vomit, follow these guidelines:
- Wear disposable mask and gloves
- Clean-up with paper towel, wipe with a cloth soaked with hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 200ppm, and then wipe with clean damp cloth
- Put vomit and disposable mask and gloves into plastic bag, and tie strongly in a knot. If you can put hypochlorous acid with chlorine level 1000ppm, it will be much better for killing the virus.
- Be careful not to get splashed when infected person vomits
- When you finish clean up, wash your hands carefully
How to make hypochlorous acid with chlorine
Here is a demonstration by Tomoko on how to make kitchen bleach solution, following MHLW guidelines, for sterilizing your home of Norovirus:
For Industry Use – using bleach with concentration 12%:
- 5 ml + 3L water -> sterilization for dishes, curtain, door nob, floor, etc
- 25ml + 3L water -> dispose vomit
For Household use – using kitchen bleach with concentration 6%:
- 10 ml + 3L water -> sterilization for dishes, curtain, door nob, floor, etc
- 50ml + 3L water -> dispose vomit
*Make sure you check the “how to use” label on the product before using.
*Vomit is acidic, so it may cause poisonous fumes if you use full concentration bleach.
- More information from MHLW (in Japanese).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (in English)
Thank you Shaney for forwarding the MHLW and CDC links to us!
And thank you Tomoko for translating and for the excellent video showing how to clean up following the MHLW guidelines!!
Take extra care everyone!!!