On Oct. 1, Drew Cunningham, 29, a sales manager, collapsed at work.
He had taken Clorox wipes on a recent work trip to Mexico, where the infectious disease was spreading. The wipes are more effective than other disinfectants, but “they’re not specifically designed for certain things,” said William Rounds, the emergency-medical-response officer at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn. Mr. Cunningham, who was on his way home on a business trip, survived his condition, but his escape strategy — purchasing disinfectant wipes — likely saved his life.
But unlike Mr. Cunningham, many other people bought Clorox wipes from the same vendor and are finding themselves in much more dire circumstances. “I had lost all hope,” said Mr. Cunningham, about his hours after suffering a medical emergency. “I was having thoughts of dying.”
Clorox wipes, like disinfectant bottles, have been rated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the easiest ways to fight a particular disease. However, their special properties mean that they often can’t be exactly replaced with a sealed bottle of disinfectant. The reason: Though the wipes come in multicolored bottles with hundreds of bottles, even the most porous wipes cannot reliably kill the deadly bacteria that causes the latest flu pandemic.