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Decontaminating household textiles exposed to M. canis (ringworm)

W12-034   Decontamination of household textiles exposed to Microsporum canis spores
Karen A. Moriello; University of Wisconsin-Madison; final progress report

This study evaluated and reported on the decontamination of surfaces exposed to naturally shed infective cat hair or spores of Microsporum canis (ringworm). The most important finding was that it is not difficult nor impossible to decontaminate surfaces and homes. The key findings were:

1. If a surface can be washed it can be decontaminated.

2. Removal of gross visible cat hair and debris enhances decontamination.

3. Laundry can be decontaminated with two washings. It is important to wash exposed laundry until it is free of visible cat hair. Laundry can be successfully decontaminated using cold water without the addition of bleach. What is most important is to use the longest wash cycle available and to not over stuff the laundry tub. Agitation is important in removing cat hair.

4. Carpets can be decontaminated via washing with a beater brush carpet scrubber two times using routine detergent. Carpets can be decontaminated using hot water extraction (“i.e” steam cleaning). If chemical decontamination is needed carpets can be pretreated with an antifungal shampoo (miconazole/chlorhexidine or ketoconazole) for 10 minutes and then washed as normal. Alternatively, an accelerated hydrogen peroxide carpet cleaner can be used.

5. Routine cleaning (mechanical removal of cat hair, washing with a detergent until a surface is clean, and sparing use of a disinfectant) can decontaminate homes during and after an infected cat has been present.

See also:
Moriello KA. Decontamination of laundry exposed to Microsporum canis hairs and spores. J Feline Med Surg; 2016, 18:457-461.