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Survival of Influenza Virus in the Environment

Lipinski, Abby (2024) Survival of Influenza Virus in the Environment. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Influenza viruses are responsible for high levels of morbidity and mortality on an annual basis. Transmission of influenza is thought to be possible through direct contact, large respiratory droplets, contaminated surfaces (fomites), and small particle aerosols. The relative contribution of each mode and its importance in transmission remains underexamined. In this study, type A(H3N2) influenza and type B Victoria influenza were evaluated for survival in aerosol and on surfaces. Aerosol survival was assessed by filling a rotating drum with aerosolized virus with a Collison nebulizer, and samples were collected with an all-glass impinger. In H3N2 aerosols 20% of virus remained after one hour, 6% remained after two hours, and by four hours virus was non-recoverable. Aerosolization of type B found 1.5% of virus remaining after an hour with no recovery of virus after two hours. Analysis of H3N2 samples by RT-qPCR revealed long-term stability of viral genomes that may overestimate the risk of transmission. Viral decay in droplets was a function of droplet size, surface material, and the relative humidity in the environment, though under most conditions, virus was recoverable after 8 hours. Droplets of H3N2 tended to experience the most decay at 40% RH and condition-specific differences in decay for droplets placed on polypropylene or stainless steel were noted. Smaller type B droplets tended to experience more decay at 80% RH while larger droplets experienced the least decay at 80% RH. Overall, this work demonstrates the importance of assessing influenza viruses independently for survival and can be applied to develop non-pharmaceutical interventions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lipinski, Abbyabl84@pitt.eduabl84
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorReed, Douglasdsreed@pitt.edudsreed
Committee MemberHartman, Amyhartman2@pitt.eduhartman2
Committee MemberMartinson, Jeremyjmartins@pitt.edujmartins
Date: 14 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 April 2024
Approval Date: 14 May 2024
Submission Date: 23 April 2024
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Influenza, aerosols, fomites
Date Deposited: 14 May 2024 19:12
Last Modified: 14 May 2024 19:12


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