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NSF Scrub Club
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 9, 2008

CONTACTS:
Greta Houlahan
NSF International
Phone: (734) 913-5723
Email: houlahan@nsf.org

The Scrub Club Can Help Prevent the Stomach Flu
Proper handwashing – your best protection against viral gastroenteritis


Ann Arbor, MI – Health departments across the nation have reported a recent increase in the number of cases of the stomach flu. In fact, according to a Fox News report released last month, emergency rooms have seen a total of about 500 cases a day, up from the yearly average of 300.

NSF International has developed a “prescription” that can help children in the fight against the stomach flu – scrubclub.org. There is no vaccine or cure for the stomach flu; however, one of the best preventions against it is proper and consistent handwashing. With an interactive website (scrubclub.org), kids can learn the benefits of proper handwashing in a fun, easy way.

Often called the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection usually caused by a group of viruses known as noroviruses that result in vomiting or diarrhea. Highly contagious, viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States. It causes millions of cases of diarrhea each year.

According to William Fisher, NSF Vice President, “The Scrub Club was developed by NSF to help kids, parents and teachers get excited about handwashing. Through interactive games and webisodes, educational activities and handwashing songs, the website teaches proper handwashing techniques in the fight against disease and infection, including the stomach flu.”

Handwashing Help from Scrub Club’s Soaper-Heroes
Each of the Scrub Club"soaper-heroes" represents one of the six steps in the handwashing process - "Hot Shot" and "Chill" combine to make the warm water essential for proper handwashing; "Squeaks" turns into various forms of soap; "Taki" becomes a clock that counts down the required 20 seconds for proper handwashing; "Scruff" reminds kids to clean around their nails; "Tank" turns into a sink to rinse away the germs and "P.T." transforms into paper towels.

Interactive games, including the one that features the evil villain “Influenza Enzo – Stop Fluin’ Around,” teaches children how illnesses are spread and how to prevent them. Materials, such as a Scrub Club membership card, posters, stickers and educational materials for teachers and parents, can also be downloaded directly from the site.

For more information about the Scrub Club, please contact Greta Houlahan at 734.913.5723, houlahan@nsf.org or visit scrubclub.org. For more information on viral gastroenteritis, visit the NSF website.

About NSF International: NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer goods (www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services include safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations, organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.


Scrub Club® and Scrub Club characters are copyright 2007 NSF International.
"BAC" character copyright 2006 The Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Please distribute Scrub Club® materials freely in classrooms, publications, etc.,
provided that credit is given to NSF International.