The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how the spread of the virus is facilitated in certain environments, especially enclosed ones.
Penitentiary facilities are among the closed environments most prone to the possibility of infectious risk in general, as well as the Covid-19 virus. Proper hygiene plays a key role in preventing infectious diseases in these spaces and protecting the health of inmates and staff.
Let’s explore together the topic of sanitization in prisons in this article, which could be of interest to all those who work in contact with the sanitation of these realities.
The infectious risk in prison
Poor air exchange, high concentration of people in shared spaces, and continuous opportunities for contact are some of the characteristics that make prisons one of the most infectious risk closed environments. Generally, the main risk in closed places is represented by bioaerosols. These are very fine particles, containing biological material, and which remain suspended in the air. Inside the bioaerosol particles, we can find infectious biological material, such as fungi, spores, bacteria, and viruses.
Furthermore, living together in confined environments such as places of detention represents both a source of infection and the spread of infectious diseases. This picture also includes the frequent overcrowding of common areas, hygienic practices that are not always adequate, and a high turnover of people within the structures. The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 brought to light the greater vulnerability of people detained to the virus, compared to the rest of the free population, precisely because of the closed and confined environments in which they live.
From this context, it is clear how prison spaces can represent a receptacle for infectious diseases. This results, on the one hand, from the fact that prisoners often enter prison already with a more degraded state of health than average; and, on the other hand, from the structural features of the prisons themselves, which promote the risk of infection.
The most common infectious diseases in prison
The presence and spread of infectious diseases is a critical issue that typically affects closed communities. The prison environment is also part of this picture. In fact, as reported by a study by ARS Toscana (Regional Health Agency of Tuscany) in 2015, among the most common pathologies in prisons, infectious diseases are in third place, after mental and gastroenterological disorders. So, what are the infectious diseases most frequently contracted in prison?
First, it should be remembered that the risk of contagion and transmission of infections within prisons does not concern only prisoners, but the general community, which also includes staff, visitors, and all people who come into close contact with prisoners in condition of semi-freedom.
Here is an overview of the most common infections in prisons:
- Hepatitis (B and C): hepatitis viruses are in first place among the most widespread pathogens, with a prevalence of the HVC virus, and to a lesser extent, of the HVB virus. In both cases, the viruses are mainly transmitted through blood, for example by coming into contact with infected needles. Saliva and other bodily fluids can also carry the virus, increasing the risk of being infected sexually or through contact with objects on which traces of these fluids may remain, such as personal underwear, razors, and toothbrushes.
- HIV: the HIV is hematogenous and sexually transmitted.
- Tuberculosis: This pathology is widespread among the prison population, about 10–20 times more than in the general population. The bacterium that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is transmitted by air. Anyone who breathes the respiratory secretions emitted by an infected person runs the risk of being infected in turn. Consequently, the presence of infected subjects and healthy subjects in confined spaces and with poor ventilation increases the possibility of contagion of the latter.
- Pediculosis, scabies, mycosis: overcrowding and hygienic conditions – often not optimal – in prisons favor the spread of these infections and infestations. Sharing toilets, showers, and personal hygiene tools–these are all situations that expose people to the possibility of infection.
Infectious risk prevention measures
In addition to adherence to the guidelines and protocols envisaged for the cleaning, disinfection, and/or sanitization processes of prisons, there are various initiatives and good hygiene practices to lower the risk of infection in these environments.
At the base is awareness and health education on proper hygiene. Apparently unimportant basic precautions such as washing hands often and receiving adequate information on how infectious diseases are spread are essential.
These good practices must be accompanied by appropriate cleaning and disinfection activities in relation to the type of environment and surfaces to be treated. For example, the choice of disinfectants to combat the presence of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in closed environments must fall on products that are not harmful to those who frequent those spaces. The strategy to be adopted in the fight against infectious diseases in prisons should not be limited to the treatment of infections already in progress, but aim at a further step, namely the prevention of these pathologies.
AMIL Care and the prevention of infectious risk
The diffusion of a correct culture of disinfection is the basis of the mission of AMIL Care. Making the consumer aware, by providing adequate information on available treatments and products, allows for the expansion of useful knowledge for everyone’s health and safety, as well as playing an important role in the prevention of infectious risk. In fact, the latter also starts with an adequate awareness of how infectious diseases spread and how to fight them with disinfection processes best suited to each individual case.
The approach of AMIL Care, the leader in the sanitation market, is based precisely on this, with the aim of guiding a culture of disinfection based on scientific studies, to provide concrete answers to the constantly evolving needs of each sector. The Medisystem system was born from AMIL Care’s experience and technological innovation: an effective disinfection solution that allows you to operate in full compliance with regulations. The AMIL Care offer is designed to meet all types of disinfection needs. The Medisystem system is declined in a range of solutions suitable for several sectors, such as the medical and hospital, industrial, services, and hospitality sectors, etc. The micro-nebulizing devices associated with hydrogen peroxide-based chemical products, both developed and produced by the company, guarantee high levels of disinfection in closed environments. The Teknobios and Maxibios AMIL Care devices are characterized by standardization, traceability, and automation of the disinfection process, to guarantee greater safety and exclude the possibility of human error. In this way, we have certifiable and replicable efficacy standards in all conditions. Furthermore, micro-nebulization allows us to reach even the most critical points inside confined spaces. While hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient contained in AMIL Care chemical products, is a solution with proven efficacy, safe to use, and leaves no residue: it, therefore, represents a suitable choice for the disinfection of closed environments such as prisons.
Thanks to all these characteristics, Medisystem has a particularly high efficacy spectrum and carries out strong virucidal, bactericidal, mycobactericidal, fungicidal, and sporicidal activity.
The fight against infectious risk starts with prevention. AMIL Care’s commitment also moves in this direction, developing solutions capable of preventing and combating the risk of infection in several sectors.