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Size of airborne flu virus impacts risk, Virginia Tech researchers say
Date:2/1/2011

A parent's wise advice to never go to a hospital unless you want to get sick may be gaining support from scientific studies on a specific airborne virus.

The results of a Virginia Tech study by environmental engineers and a virologist on the risk of airborne infection in public places from concentrations of influenza A viruses is appearing today in the on-line, Feb. 2 issue of the United Kingdom's Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Linsey Marr, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, http://www.cee.vt.edu/people/lmarr.html and her colleagues, Wan Yang, of Blacksburg, Va., one of her graduate students, and Elankumaran Subbiah, a virologist in the biomedical sciences and pathobiology department of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/org/dbsp/faculty/subbiah.asp conducted their research in a health center, a daycare facility, and onboard airplanes.

"The relative importance of the airborne route in influenza transmissionin which tiny respiratory droplets from infected individuals are inhaled by othersis not known," Marr, who received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to pinpoint sources of unhealthy air pollutants, said.

What is known is that influenza A viruses are "transmitted through direct contact, indirect contact, large respiratory droplets, and aerosols that are left behind by the evaporation of larger droplets," they reported in the journal. "The aerosol transmission route is particularly controversial since there is scant proof of infection mediated by virus-laden aerosols, partly due to the difficulties in studies involving human subjects and partly due to the challenges in detecting influenza A viruses in ambient air."

What happens is an infected person might cough or sneeze or j
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Contact: Lynn Nystrom
tansy@vt.edu
540-231-4371
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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