Transmission of Influenza A in a Student Office Based on Realistic Person-to-Person Contact and Surface Touch Behaviour

Abstract

Influenza A viruses result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide each year. In this study, influenza A transmission in a graduate student office is simulated via long-range airborne, fomite, and close contact routes based on real data from more than 3500 person-to-person contacts and 127,000 surface touches obtained by video-camera. The long-range airborne, fomite and close contact routes contribute to 54.3%, 4.2% and 44.5% of influenza A infections, respectively. For the fomite route, 59.8%, 38.1% and 2.1% of viruses are transmitted to the hands of students from private surfaces around the infected students, the students themselves and other susceptible students, respectively. The intranasal dose via fomites of the students’ bodies, belongings, computers, desks, chairs and public facilities are 8.0%, 6.8%, 13.2%, 57.8%, 9.3% and 4.9%, respectively. The intranasal dose does not monotonously increase or decrease with the virus transfer rate between hands and surfaces. Mask wearing is much more useful than hand washing for control of influenza A in the tested office setting. Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, which can reduce the infection risk by 2.14%, is recommended and is much more efficient than hand-washing. View Full-Text

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By |2018-08-11T22:21:11+00:00August 11th, 2018|

One Comment

  1. Dr. W. Curtis White, PhD August 12, 2018 at 7:02 am - Reply

    The data presented here on the importance of surfaces in the transfer of viral infections reaffirms the importance of the need for cleaning and protecting environmental high-touch surfaces from soiling and viral (microbial) contamination in the chain of infections. Although this has been shown in other studies the techniques used here are robust and avoid the complexities and error-prone viral retrieval techniques. What is enlightening here is that surface contamination was shown to be more important than airborne fomites and hands as transmission routes. It seems that maybe the simplistic infection control formula of Semmelweis where the variables of controling dose and transfer routes are critical in infection control still holds true. These data should also be a clarion for the healthcare community to use the safest, most durable, and most effective ntimicrobial treatments as well as using effective air filtration and personal hygiene practices.

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