Higher indoor humidity inactivates flu virus particles

February 27, 2013

Higher humidity levels indoors can significantly reduce the infectivity of influenza virus particles released by coughing, according to research published February 27 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by John Noti and colleagues from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers tested the effect of relative humidity on the capacity of flu virus released in a simulated 'cough' to re-infect cells.

They found that an hour after being released in a room at a relative humidity of 23% or less, 70-77% of viral particles retained their infectious capacity, but when humidity was increased to about 43%, only 14% of the were capable of infecting cells.

Most of this inactivation occurred within the first fifteen minutes of the viral particles being released in the high-humidity condition.

The study concludes that maintaining indoor relative humidity at levels greater than 40% can significantly reduce the infectious capacity of aerosolized flu virus.

More information: Noti JD, Blachere FM, McMillen CM, Lindsley WG, Kashon ML, et al. (2013) High Humidity Leads to Loss of Infectious Influenza Virus from Simulated Coughs. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57485. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057485

Related Stories

Why is the flu more common during the winter season?

December 13, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Influenza, commonly known as the flu, has distinct transmission patterns around the world. In temperate regions, influenza's occurrence peaks during the winter season, while in some tropical regions, the ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.