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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of relative humidity on the airborne survival of rotavirus SA11.

Rotavirus SA11, suspended in tryptose phosphate broth with 2.5 mg of rhodamine B per ml, was aerosolized (Collison nebulizer) into a rotating drum, and the aerosols were held at 20 +/- 1 degree C with the desired relative humidity (RH). An all-glass impinger with tryptose phosphate broth was used to collect 1-min (5.6-liter) samples of air from the drum. The virus was found to survive best at medium (50 +/- 5%) RH, where its half-life was nearly 40 h. The half-life of the virus at the low (25 +/- 5%) RH level was about 9 h. Even at 72 h of aerosol age, 45 and 21% of the infectious virus remained detectable in the air at the medium and low RH levels, respectively. The high (80 +/- 5%) RH level was found to be the least favorable to the survival of the virus, since 50% of the infectious virus became undetectable within 2 h of aerosolization. In a separate experiment at the midrange RH, 3% of the infectious virus was detectable in the drum air after 223 h (9 days) of aerosol age. Rotaviruses could, therefore, survive in air for prolonged periods, thus making air a possible vehicle for their dissemination.[1]


  1. Effect of relative humidity on the airborne survival of rotavirus SA11. Sattar, S.A., Ijaz, M.K., Johnson-Lussenburg, C.M., Springthorpe, V.S. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (1984) [Pubmed]
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