Plett F10 decontamination exercise to proceed 

Plett's Main Street is empty during lockdown - Sunday 29 March 2020
Published: March 29th, 2020

Bitou Municipality Mayor approves F10 decontamination in Plettenberg Bay area

UPDATE: F10SC disinfectant process now underway in Plett – WATCH

After lengthy research and consultation with local doctors, environmentalists and vets, Bitou Municipality Mayor Councillor Peter Lobese has approved the F10 decontamination exercise proposed for high risk areas in Plettenberg Bay and neighbouring townships.

For details, please refer to the statement below by veterinarian Dr Jacqueline de Villiers BVSc.

Dear Plettenberg Bay community,

As there are so many mixed ideas and there is so much confusion out there, I took it apon myself to make some enquiries about the “fogging of Plett with F10 products”.

F10 is a South African product, initially created as a veterinary disinfectant – now widely used in most animal husbandry sectors including fish farming and bee keeping. Check the website or for more info.

It is gaining more international exposure and recently, F10 is flying the SA flag high, as it has been the product of choice for disinfecting Singapore very effectively.

F10 products are extensively used for general disinfection in vet practice, sterilization of surgical equipment, flushing and treatment of wounds, nebulising etc. I have even recovered a toad, that had surgery on its leg, in a flat dish of diluted F10 for a few days post op, successfully.

I consulted Linda Muller, a director of F10 and former matron of the Faculty of Veterinary Science teaching hospital, at Onderstepoort, for clarification of questions raised:

  1. Is the product effective against Corona virus? At the recommended dilution rate and contact time, it is.
  2. Will the run off into storm water drainage impact the environment negatively? Not if used at the recommended dilution rate. It is biodegradable with a zero impact rating by EN Standards.The safety studies are available.
  3. Will it pose a risk to humans with pre-existing conditions that may inhale the product? F10 ingredient is safe, however if the particle size it very small (ie for fogging) it can cause irritation, only if applied close to humans and animals, which in this case will not happen. It is used in dilution as a nebulizer for bronchial infections in both human and veterinary practice. Compromised persons are advised to wear face masks during fogging applications to prevent irritation.
  4. Is widespread fumigation effective? It is advised that fumigating take place in a contained, evacuated space to be effective, so as to gain necessary contact time and reduce risk of excessive inhalation. The person applying the product should wear a mask.

We agreed that extensive fumigation in open spaces would be a waste of time and effort. However, contact spray of “high touch” areas would be highly effective and recommended. Fogging/fumigating would only be effective in a contained space as the virus needs to come into contact with the product.

Next, I called the CEO of Plett tourism, Mr Marius Venter, to figure out what he was wanting to achieve.

Plettenberg Bay Tourism have managed to raise just over R40 000 due to the generosity of a few individuals in the private sector. This is not government or municipal funding but a direct contribution from concerned local citizens.

They have used these funds to purchase 200 litres of F10 SC which is one of the premier products – a highly effective product under the circumstances. One hand held fogging unit will be used. After discussion it was agreed that fumigating open spaces was a waste but the inside of empty taxis, police vans, ambulances and other public transport vehicles could be fumigated while empty and closed, to be effective. High contact points, such as taxi ranks, where there is possibly human excrement (spitting and gobbing) on floor surfaces, would be sprayed to reduce the risk of contamination by foot. ATM machines are not allowed to be sprayed (bank order) and will therefore be directly fumigated, obviously clearing the area of pedestrians first. All door handles in high contact areas would be sprayed.

I personally feel this would be an effective measure to reduce the risk of spread of COVID 19 and should be implemented in all high contact areas as soon as possible. It has been suggested to start with fogging of taxis before 30 March, when pensioners (the most vulnerable) will be transported to pay points. This should be repeated again in preparation for 31 March 2020. This is an urgent request as this is a high contagion flash point and most will do their necessary shopping, moving through many public areas.

At this stage, these are the areas that have been identified as high risk for treatment:

  1. Market Square
  2. Main Road, Taxi Rank, Shelter.
  3. Main Beach walkway and toilets
  4. Robberg KwikSpar parking area and surroundings.
  5. Kranshoek / Taxi area and community center.
  6. Kwanokuthula Taxi Rank and Taxis provided by Taxi owners!
  7. Kwanokuthula Clinic / Home affairs / SAPS / New Horizons / Bossiesgif / Qloweni
  8. Industrial area
  9. Wittedrift/ Green Valley clinic
  10. Crags Taxi Rank and community hall

I would suggest including all petrol stations – especially those situated along the N2.

I would advocate repeating this exercise at least every 2 weeks (average incubation period), for it to be effective over a longer period. Once the product dries, it does not have a longterm residual effect so obviously the more frequently applications can be made, the better.

The correct dilution is 1 litre per 100 litres water so they have enough to make up 20 000 litres of diluted disinfectant at this stage.

Ms Julie Carlisle was then contacted and she was in support of this as long as Dr Peter Berning, with the COVID 19 task team (on which he serves in an advisory capacity for our area), agreed.

Dr Berning was then contacted and after discussion it was agreed that this was the best way forward to maximise benefit to the most vulnerable communities. He will revert back to the other doctors involved in the medical task team and will be working directly with the Bitou Municipality. If consent is reached, they will gain approval through council and will be able to give Mr Venter and Plett Tourism the go ahead to organize this in the near future.

Another thing Linda Muller suggested, was making up CLEARLY MARKED Jojo water tanks with pre-mixed disinfectant, available on tap, to be distributed within the less advantaged communities. This works out to just over R2/ diluted litre. This was successfully implemented in Singapore and she is planning to send a proposal to our Minister of Health to suggest this.

Mr Venter is concerned that these may be stolen or possibly confused for drinking water and has therefore suggested that these be placed at ward councilors, who serve the community, so that the supply can be monitored but this may need further discussion.

I have huge faith in our COVID task team. They really are looking out for the public’s best interests. I have also learnt that the Bitou medical team is being divided into COVID only personnel and different personnel for other medical conditions. The Plett Medi Clinic will not be used for COVID cases unless absolutely necessary, therefore allowing normal medical situations to be treated as normal. A separate tempory respiratory hospital is being established.

Should you be willing to contribute to the good work that Plett Tourism and the COVID task team are trying to do, please donate to:

ACCOUNT NAME: Plett Tourism Association
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 62520118854
REF: F10 spray

If they raise enough funds, maybe we could get some extra tanks set up?

14 000 new cases in the USA today😢. The sooner we act the better.

We can all do our bit to help flatten the curve. Stay safe everybody.

Best wishes,
Dr Jacqueline de Villiers BVSc
SAVC reg D01/5290
Tel: 071 109 7030