Exhalation of respiratory viruses by breathing, coughing, and talking

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Journal Article
Journal of Medical Virology, 2009, 81 (9), pp. 1674 - 1679
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There is a lack of quantitative information about the generation of virus aerosols by infected subjects. The exhaled aerosols generated by coughing, talking, and breathing were sampled in 50 subjects using a novel mask, and analyzed using PCR for nine respiratory viruses. The exhaled samples from a subset of 10 subjects who were PCR positive for rhinovirus were also examined by cell culture for this virus. Of the 50 subjects, among the 33 with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, 21 had at least one virus detected by PCR, while amongst the 17 asymptomatic subjects, 4 had a virus detected by PCR. Overall, rhinovirus was detected in 19 subjects, influenza in 4 subjects, parainfluenza in 2 subjects, and human metapneumovirus in 1 subject. Two subjects were co-infected. Of the 25 subjects who had virus-positive nasal mucus, the same virus type was detected in 12 breathing samples, 8 talking samples, and in 2 coughing samples. In the subset of exhaled samples from 10 subjects examined by culture, infective rhinovirus was detected in 2. These data provide further evidence that breathing may be a source of respirable particles carrying infectious virus. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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