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, 74 (10), 3002-7

Survival of Influenza Virus on Banknotes

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Survival of Influenza Virus on Banknotes

Yves Thomas et al. Appl Environ Microbiol.

Abstract

Successful control of a viral disease requires knowledge of the different vectors that could promote its transmission among hosts. We assessed the survival of human influenza viruses on banknotes given that billions of these notes are exchanged daily worldwide. Banknotes were experimentally contaminated with representative influenza virus subtypes at various concentrations, and survival was tested after different time periods. Influenza A viruses tested by cell culture survived up to 3 days when they were inoculated at high concentrations. The same inoculum in the presence of respiratory mucus showed a striking increase in survival time (up to 17 days). Similarly, B/Hong Kong/335/2001 virus was still infectious after 1 day when it was mixed with respiratory mucus. When nasopharyngeal secretions of naturally infected children were used, influenza virus survived for at least 48 h in one-third of the cases. The unexpected stability of influenza virus in this nonbiological environment suggests that unusual environmental contamination should be considered in the setting of pandemic preparedness.

Figures

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.
Methods used for banknote inoculation and subsequent virus isolation. (a) Portions (50 μl) of a viral suspension are deposited on a predefined area of banknotes and allowed to dry for different periods of time. (b) After 1 h of incubation at room temperature, the liquid has evaporated, but a trace remains quite visible (arrow). (c) A standardized piece of banknote containing viral particles is cut from a banknote. (d) Viral particles are collected from the piece of banknote by immersion in a tube containing cell culture medium, and after 10 min the eluate is inoculated onto a cell culture.
FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.
Duration of infectiousness of four different influenza virus subtypes after inoculation onto banknotes at room temperature. The following viral suspensions were used in triplicate for each experiment: influenza A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) virus (H1NC) at a concentration of 2.8 × 105 TCID50/ml; influenza B/Hong Kong/335/2001 virus (BHK) at a concentration of 1.6 × 104 TCID50/ml; influenza A/Moscow/10/99 (H3N2) virus (H3Mos) at a concentration of 8.9 × 106 TCID50/ml; and influenza A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2) virus (H3Wis) at a concentration of 5 × 104 TCID50/ml.
FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.
Duration of infectiousness according to the size of the initial inoculum and the presence or absence of mucus. Influenza A/Moscow/10/99 (H3N2) virus was deposited in triplicate on banknotes at the following concentrations, each in the presence (H3m) or absence (H3) of respiratory mucus: (A) 8.9 × 105 TCID50/ml; (B) 4.4 × 105 TCID50/ml; (C) 2.2 × 105 TCID50/ml; (D) 1.1 × 105 TCID50/ml. (E) Similarly, influenza B/Hong Kong/335/2001 virus was deposited at a concentration of 3.2 × 103 TCID50/ml in the presence (Bm) or absence (B) of respiratory mucus.
FIG. 4.
FIG. 4.
Persistence of infectiousness over time of influenza virus-positive respiratory secretions. Fourteen influenza A (H3N2) virus culture-positive human secretions detected during the 2006-2007 winter season were directly deposited on banknotes and tested for persistence of influenza virus infectiousness after 24 and 48 h.
FIG. 5.
FIG. 5.
Influenza A virus genome persistence on banknotes. Influenza A/Moscow/20/99 (H3N2) (H3Mos) and influenza A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) (H1NC) virus RNA were quantified (see Materials and Methods) and expressed as a proportion of the initial amount of RNA present in the inoculum. The bars indicate the standard deviations calculated for triplicates.

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