Survival of influenza viruses on environmental surfaces

B. Bean, B. M. Moore, B. Sterner, L. R. Peterson, D. N. Gerding, H. H. Balfour

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To investigate the transmission of influenza viruses via hands and environmental surfaces, the survival of laboratory-grown influenza A and influenza B viruses on various surfaces was studied. Both influenza A and B viruses survived for 24-48 hr on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic but survived for <8-12 hr on cloth, paper, and tissues. Measurable quantities of influenza A virus were transferred from stainless steel surfaces to hands for 24 hr and from tissues to hands for up to 15 min. Virus survived on hands for up to 5 min after transfer from the environmental surfaces. These observations suggest that the transmission of virus from donors who are shedding large amounts could occur for 2-8 hr via stainless steel surfaces and for a few minutes via paper tissues. Thus, under conditions of heavy environmental contamination, the transmission of influenza virus via fomites may be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1982

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received for publication November 23, 1981, and in revised form March 4, 1982. This work was presented in part at the 20th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, September 1980, in New Orleans, Louisiana. This work was supported in part by funds from the Veterans Administration. We thank Dr. A. P. Kendal for typing the influenza isolates used in these experiments and Dr. Dorothy Aeppli for statistical assistance. Please address requests for reprints to Dr. B. Bean, Box 198, Mayo Building, University of Minnesota Hospitals, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.


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