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Another outbreak is a certainty’: are we ready for a superbug epidemic?: Fifteen years ago, Sars spread through Hong Kong like wildfire. With antibiotic resistance on the rise, how many cities are prepared for a superbug outbreak?

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Client Testimonial

  • Residential Cleaning & Disinfection Services

    "Thanks again for the super professional service, your guys attitude and manners around my house and family were remarkable. I am not an easy customer but tonight I am surely a very happy one!"

  • Professional and Courteous Service

    Please thank your team for their hard work.

    They were professional and courteous and left the apartment cleaner than it was before! I look forward to contacting IAQ again for any aircon work!

    Thanks again.

  • The team just left about 10 minutes ago. Everything went very well- very professional. They were here early and had already checked in with the front office to get badges. Everything was left very clean after and they were very professional and efficient. I'm really happy- thank you.

  • I spoke with my husband who was here during the cleaning and he had nothing but good things to say about the your team!

    He said they arrived promptly and were very thorough from what he could see, both from inside the condo as well as going outside to the connecting unit. He was very impressed with their professionalism.

    Thank you very much !

  • A pest control product too

    Initially the first thing we noticed was those pesky mosquitoes suddenly disappeared from the office. We asked the makers if GermXit® had anything to do with this and found out that mosquitoes don't like Tea Tree Oil, it repeals them, so that was an added bonus. Clean air and no more mosquitoes.

  • Better than we thought !

    When we moved to a new office, everyone started to get sick. We asked for the air conditioners to be cleaned but that didn't seem to help. So we had GermXit® installed and hoped that would do the trick.  Over the next few months the sickness levels dropped and the staff started to comment that they hadn't had a cold or flu for a long time. Some of the staff have now bought GermXit® for their home too.

    Thanks GermXit®, it really works.

  • “...we found that the number of illnesses dropped around 80%. Further the nasty smell that dominated disappeared.”
    MOPU Superintendent

  • “We added GermXit® to a 2nd rig and ... we could see an immediate effect.”
    MOPU Superintendent

  • “Under the conditions of the experiment, GermXit® gel had a measurable biocidal effect on E.coli and C.albicans”
    university lab report

  • “The study has demonstrated that GermXit® gel has the potential to be a useful decontamination agent in HVAC duct systems”
    university lab report

  • “There has been an apparent decrease in coughs, colds, etc. ...the decrease in these ailments in such a closed environment of a ship is testament to the overall effectiveness of your process.”
    ships captain

  • “There is no doubt the product GermXit® has not only improved the air quality throughout the living facility it continues to neutralize and disperse all Bacteria, Fungi, etc. from the system.”
    drilling rig manager

  • “I have used the product ever since first installed and will continue to do so.”
    drilling rig manager

It has been 15 years since an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in Hong Kong killed 299 people and infected 1,755. The wildfire spread of the deadly virus through densely packed housing estates stunned the city’s health authorities and traumatised residents. Now the city’s top microbiologist thinks more deaths are on the way.

“It’s very likely we’ll see an epidemic on the scale of Sars,” says Professor KY Yuen, chair of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong. He cites two key reasons for this, both applicable to cities around the world. The first is population density. “Our population is increasing. The number of people living in subdivided flats is now at least 200,000, maybe as high as 600,000,” says Yuen.

The second is the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. One new superbug infection is reported every 18 minutes in the city’s public hospitals. “The level of antimicrobial resistance in Hong Kong far exceeds that in other developed countries, with resistance to some antibiotics over 20 times higher than in the UK or Sweden,” says Yuen.

That situation is “very likely to get worse” without urgent action to tackle overuse of antibiotics, he says. A government survey revealed half of Hongkongers had taken antibiotics in the past year, with 2% admitting sourcing them illegally. Some argue that pressure to free up hospital bed space leads to oversubscription of antibiotics, as doctors try to shift patients out the door.

A 2016 report backed by the British government found that drug-resistant infections cause 700,000 deaths globally each year. The same report projected that death toll could rise to 10 million a year by 2050 – more people than die annually from cancer. The authors put the economic cost of such a catastrophe at $100tn (£75tn). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described rising resistance levels to antibiotics as a “global crisis”, while England’s chief medical officer has warned of a coming “post-antibiotic apocalypse”.

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“…we found that the number of illnesses dropped around 80%. Further the nasty smell that dominated disappeared.” MOPU Superintendent