Journal Article

Influenza a Virus Contamination of Common Household Surfaces during the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand: Implications for Contact Transmission

James Mark Simmerman, Piyarat Suntarattiwong, Jens Levy, Robert V. Gibbons, Christina Cruz, Jeffrey Shaman, Richard G. Jarman and Tawee Chotpitayasunondh

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue 9, pages 1053-1061
Published in print November 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/656581
Influenza a Virus Contamination of Common Household Surfaces during the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand: Implications for Contact Transmission

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Background. Rational infection control guidance requires an improved understanding of influenza transmission. We studied households with an influenza a-infecte child to measure the prevalence of influenza contamination, the effect of hand washing, and associations with humidity and temperature.

Methodology. We identifie children with influenza and randomly assigned their households to hand washing and control arms. Six common household surfaces and the finge tips of the index patient and symptomatic family members were swabbed. Specimens were tested by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), and specimens with positive results were placed on cell culture. A handheld psychrometer measured meteorological data.

Results. Sixteen (17.8%) of 90 households had influenza A-positive surfaces by rRT-PCR, but no viruses could be cultured. The finge tips of 15 (16.6%) of the index patients had results positive for influenza A, and 1 virus was cultured. Index patients with seasonal influenza infections shed more virus than did patients with pandemic influenza infection. Control households had a higher prevalence of surface contamination (11 [24.4%] of 45) than did hand washing households (5 [11.1%] of 45); prevalence risk difference (PRD), 13.3%; [95% conf dence interval {CI}, −2.2% to 28.9%]; ). Households in P = .09 which the age of the index patient was ⩽8 years had a significantly higher prevalence of contamination (PRD ,19.1%; 95% CI, 5.3%–32.9%; P =.02). Within the strata of households with secondary infections, an effect of lower absolute humidity is suggested (P =.07).

Conclusions. We documented inf uenza virus RNA contamination on household surfaces and on the fingertips of ill children. Homes with younger children were more likely than homes of older children to have contaminated surfaces. Lower absolute humidity favors surface contamination in households with multiple infections. Increased hand washing can reduce inf uenza contamination in the home.

Journal Article.  4114 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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