Chapter 80 : Airborne Viruses

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Viruses can become airborne through the release of contaminated liquids or dried material and can then be carried by air currents indoors, and outdoors. The methodology for generating, storing, and collecting viral aerosols has already been reviewed. Therefore, this chapter is focused on a critical review of the information on the role of air in the spread of vertebrate viruses. Work with airborne viruses also requires stringent safety precautions. In spite of the limitations, ultrafine threads are the best means to study the influence of atmospheric chemicals and light and irradiation on airborne viruses. According to Pike, 27% of the cases of laboratory-acquired infections were due to airborne viruses; cases in research settings accounted for more than 67% of such infections. Increasing use of recycled air will further enhance the risk of exposure of susceptible individuals to airborne viruses. Recently, alteration of the lung airway surface properties by spraying normal saline into the respiratory tract has been found to diminish the number of exhaled bioaerosols by human subjects by over 70%. Immunization of humans and animals by exposure to artificially aerosolized virus is a very attractive alternative to current practices of parenteral or oral vaccination. Many human pathogenic viruses and animal pathogenic viruses, some of which are relatively obscure and outside the mainstream, continue to be considered potentially useful bioweapons, and recent accounts of their production and stockpiling attest this fact.

Citation: Sattar S, Ijaz M. 2007. Airborne Viruses, p 1016-1030. In Hurst C, Crawford R, Garland J, Lipson D, Mills A, Stetzenbach L (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815882.ch80
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Image of FIGURE 1

Direct or indirect exposure of susceptible hosts to aerosolized viruses.

Citation: Sattar S, Ijaz M. 2007. Airborne Viruses, p 1016-1030. In Hurst C, Crawford R, Garland J, Lipson D, Mills A, Stetzenbach L (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815882.ch80
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Image of FIGURE 2

Scanning electron micrograph of an aerosol particle attached to a strand of spiderweb. Bar = 0.5 μm. (Reproduced with permission from B. Kournikakis of the Defence Research Establishment, Suffield, Alberta, Canada.)

Citation: Sattar S, Ijaz M. 2007. Airborne Viruses, p 1016-1030. In Hurst C, Crawford R, Garland J, Lipson D, Mills A, Stetzenbach L (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815882.ch80
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Image of FIGURE 3

Biological decay of NDV captured on a spiderweb and held under sunlight (a) and under cloudy conditions (b). Control samples were held in the dark. (Reproduced with permission from B. Kournikakis of the Defence Research Establishment, Suffield, Alberta, Canada.)

Citation: Sattar S, Ijaz M. 2007. Airborne Viruses, p 1016-1030. In Hurst C, Crawford R, Garland J, Lipson D, Mills A, Stetzenbach L (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815882.ch80
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Experimental challenge of animals or humans to viral aerosols: chronological list of selected published studies since 1970

Citation: Sattar S, Ijaz M. 2007. Airborne Viruses, p 1016-1030. In Hurst C, Crawford R, Garland J, Lipson D, Mills A, Stetzenbach L (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815882.ch80

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