The Journal of Infectious Disease recently published the article, ‘Influenza Virus Infectivity Is Retained in Aerosols and Droplets Independent of Relative Humidity.’ The article advocates that the relative humidity has little effect on the viability of the influenza virus. InfectionControl.tips is putting a Call for Critical Appraisals of the results as the findings conflict with historical evidence.
On June 7, 2018, the Journal of Infectious Disease published an article by Kormuth et al, entitled ‘Influenza Virus Infectivity Is Retained in Aerosols and Droplets Independent of Relative Humidity’ (2018). In this potentially paradigm-shifting paper, the authors demonstrate that humidity has no significant effect on an influenza virus.
The authors of the paper developed an innovative testing chamber to control relative humidity and measured the viability of the virus after one hour exposure to varying levels of humidity. After correcting for standard loss of aerosols, the authors were able to demonstrate similar recovery of viruses titers at relatively humidity levels ranging from 23% to 98% (Kormuth et al, 2018). Previous papers have been able to demonstrate that absolute and relative humidity both have a significant impact on the propagation of the influenza virus, which has been associated with the increase in influenza cases during the winter months (Lowen et al, 2007, Noti et al, 2013, Shaman et al, 2010, Steel et al, 2011, Teller, 2007). In most papers, at relative humidity above 45%, there is a significant decrease in the infectivity of the viability or infectivity of the virus.
The authors provide a number of reasons for this result, but most importantly, they advocate for the use of additional cleaning procedures to minimize the spread of influenza. Regardless of the findings, the addition of terminal cleaning procedures utilized has been repeatedly shown to minimize the presence of bacteria and viruses on surfaces (Hunt and Anderson, 2016, Robertson, 2016, Stibich, 2016). The prevention measures may differ, but the control measures do not differ.
CALL FOR CRITICAL REVIEW
Given that this is the first instance of a paper demonstrating contrasting results, we are inviting experts from public health, health care, and from the cleaning industry to provide a critical review on this latest finding. At InfectionControl.tips and The Infection Prevention Strategy, we advocate for the best evidence. Contrasting results, alternative interpretations of the results, or supporting evidence for this new result are welcome.
Please send your commentaries to [email protected]. Commentaries should cite peer-reviewed sources, and be a minimum of 250 words.
This article will be updated with links to submissions as they are received and published.
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June 13, 2018 – PART 2: Critical Appraisal: Humidity and Influenza
In Vitro Effect of Humidity on Influenza Is Not Universal
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Kormuth KA, Lin K, P, Tiwari AJ, Cox SS, Myerburg MM, Lakdawala SS, Marr LC (2018) Influenza Virus Infectivity Is Retained in Aerosols and Droplets Independent of Relative Humidity. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiy221
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