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Review
. 2011 Feb;77(3):1049-60.
doi: 10.1128/AEM.02733-09. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Using the Systematic Review Methodology to Evaluate Factors That Influence the Persistence of Influenza Virus in Environmental Matrices

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Free PMC article
Review

Using the Systematic Review Methodology to Evaluate Factors That Influence the Persistence of Influenza Virus in Environmental Matrices

C K Irwin et al. Appl Environ Microbiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Understanding factors that influence persistence of influenza virus in an environment without host animals is critical to appropriate decision-making for issues such as quarantine downtimes, setback distances, and eradication programs in livestock production systems. This systematic review identifies literature describing persistence of influenza virus in environmental samples, i.e., air, water, soil, feces, and fomites. An electronic search of PubMed, CAB, AGRICOLA, Biosis, and Compendex was performed, and citation relevance was determined according to the aim of the review. Quality assessment of relevant studies was performed using criteria from experts in virology, disease ecology, and environmental science. A total of 9,760 abstracts were evaluated, and 40 appeared to report the persistence of influenza virus in environmental samples. Evaluation of full texts revealed that 19 of the 40 studies were suitable for review, as they described virus concentration measured at multiple sampling times, with viruses detectable at least twice. Seven studies reported persistence in air (six published before 1970), seven in water (five published after 1990), two in feces, and three on surfaces. All three fomite and five air studies addressed human influenza virus, and all water and feces studies pertained to avian influenza virus. Outcome measurements were transformed to half-lives, and resultant multivariate mixed linear regression models identified influenza virus surviving longer in water than in air. Temperature was a significant predictor of persistence over all matrices. Salinity and pH were significant predictors of persistence in water conditions. An assessment of the methodological quality review of the included studies revealed significant gaps in reporting critical aspects of study design.

Figures

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.
Flow chart of literature search, relevance screening, and quality assessment process for influenza virus persistence in environmental matrices.
FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.
The 191 observations (converted to t1/2 [days]) sorted by matrix, separated by temperature, and differentiated by various parameters are shown. For better graphic visualization, data points of t1/2 = 75 days in water (low-temperature category) and t1/2 = 120 days in feces (low-temperature category) were excluded.
FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.
Frequency of reporting the 17 key design features (see Supplements S6 and S12 in the supplemental material) in studies reporting the persistence of influenza virus in the environment.

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