Transmission of Influenza A in a Student Office Based on Realistic Person-to-Person Contact and Surface Touch Behaviour

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Aug 9;15(8):1699. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081699.


Influenza A viruses result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide each year. In this study, influenza A transmission in a graduate student office is simulated via long-range airborne, fomite, and close contact routes based on real data from more than 3500 person-to-person contacts and 127,000 surface touches obtained by video-camera. The long-range airborne, fomite and close contact routes contribute to 54.3%, 4.2% and 44.5% of influenza A infections, respectively. For the fomite route, 59.8%, 38.1% and 2.1% of viruses are transmitted to the hands of students from private surfaces around the infected students, the students themselves and other susceptible students, respectively. The intranasal dose via fomites of the students' bodies, belongings, computers, desks, chairs and public facilities are 8.0%, 6.8%, 13.2%, 57.8%, 9.3% and 4.9%, respectively. The intranasal dose does not monotonously increase or decrease with the virus transfer rate between hands and surfaces. Mask wearing is much more useful than hand washing for control of influenza A in the tested office setting. Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, which can reduce the infection risk by 2.14%, is recommended and is much more efficient than hand-washing.

Keywords: airborne; close contact; fomite; hand-washing; infection; influenza A; mask; office; surface touch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fomites / virology*
  • Hand / virology
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / transmission*
  • Students*
  • Touch*