Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
Preventing The Spread of Disease RisKey
Preventing the Infection and Spread of E-Coli and Other Disease
Guideline for Employees
Germs such as bacteria and viruses are everywhere. Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals.  Many state employees and volunteers work in or around animals or livestock. While working, these people routinely come into contact with germs, such as e-coli, that may be on, around, or related to the animals. Preventing the infection and spread of e-coli or other types of diseases that come from germs is really very easy through good personal hygiene and safe work practices. What can be done?
Hand Washing
  • What happens if you do not wash your hands frequently?  You pick up germs from other sources and then you infect yourself when you touch your eyes, your nose, or your mouth.
  • When should you wash your hands?  You should wash your hands often. Probably more often than you do now because you can´t see germs with the naked eye or smell them, so you do not really know where they are hiding. It is especially important to wash your hands:
    • After any animal contact and when you have been where animals are kept or shown, i.e., barns, stalls, arenas, etc., handling animals or animal waste.
    • Before putting your hands in your mouth, eyes, or nose, eating, drinking, using tobacco products, taking or applying medicine, touching human food, handling contact lenses or applying cosmetics.
    • When your hands are dirty.
  • What is the correct way to wash your hands?  
    • First, wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap.
    • Next, rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
    • Continue for 10 - 15 seconds or about the length of a little tune.
    • It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
    • Rinse well and dry your hands with clean paper or linen towels.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based wipes to clean your hands. However, remember that there is no substitute for good hand washing. Also, there is no research comparing the wipes to soap and water but it is generally felt that wipes are better than nothing if soap and water are not available. 
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Avoid direct contact with animal waste. When working around animals or cleaning animal bedding i.e. barns, stalls, arenas, etc., employees should use protective clothing such as:
    • Coveralls or aprons, 
    • Rubber boots, 
    • Gloves, 
    • Safety goggles.
  • Do not wear soiled protective clothing outside of the animal area. Do not launder soiled protective clothing with other clothing. Sanitize the washer after laundering the soiled protective clothing prior to washing other items. Use a sanitizer approved for removal of animal waste.
  • Germs can become airborne. Consider wearing a protective mask while working with animal bedding or other types of infected materials that may become airborne.
  • Clean shoes or boots thoroughly, with an approved sanitizer, after working in animal areas. When you get home, leave these shoes or boots outside.
Eating and Personal Care
  • In animal areas, do not:
    • Eat or drink;
    • Use tobacco products;
    • Take or apply medicine;
    • Store human food;
    • Handle contact lenses; or,
    • Apply cosmetics.
Animal Care, Cleaning and Disinfection of Animal Areas
  • Maintain clean and dry animal areas. 
  • When handling animal bedding, consider spraying lightly with water and handling gently to keep the dust down. Ensure appropriate ventilation of barn and animal areas. However, to avoid germs becoming airborne, do not use fans in these areas.
  • Assure that any sick animals are isolated. Handle and care for sick or infected animals, their bedding, etc. last.
  • Disinfect animal areas using agency-approved disinfectants and husbandry practices.
  • Follow Sharps precautions when handling needles or syringes. Dispose of Sharps in Biohazard Sharp Containers.
  • Appropriately dispose of all waste, bedding, and items contaminated by them.
Notify the Supervisor
  • Of any accidents, illnesses, or if you have diarrhea that persists for more than 2 days.
  • If any animal has diarrhea.
  • Of any near misses or unsafe work practices.
Still need more information? Contact the Risk Management Division at (503) 373-7475.