Long-Term Sampling of Viable Airborne Viruses
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A novel bioaerosol sampling technique, which utilizes the bubbling process in the collection fluid, has recently been developed and found feasible for a long-term personal sampling of airborne bacteria and fungal spores as it maintained high physical collection efficiency and high microbial recovery rate for robust and stress-sensitive microorganisms. Further tests have shown that the new technique also has potential to collect viable airborne viruses, particularly when utilized for a short-term sampling of robust strains. As the short-term sampling has a limited application for assessing personal exposure in bioaerosol-contaminated environments, the present study was undertaken to investigate the feasibility of the "bubbler" for a long-term monitoring of viable airborne viruses. Liquid droplets containing Vaccinia virions (that simulate Variola, a causative agent of smallpox) were aerosolized with a Collison nebulizer into a 400-liter test chamber, from which the droplets were collected by three identical prototype personal samplers in the liquid medium during different time periods ranging from 1 to 6 hours. The viral content was measured in the collection fluid of the sampler and in the initial suspension of the nebulizer using the fluorescence-based method and by enumerating plaque-forming units per milliliter of the fluids. The relative recovery of viruses after the sampling act was determined. The results show that the "bubbling" technique has consistent collection efficiency over time and is capable of maintaining the viability of Vaccinia, for at least 6 hours, with a loss in recovery rate of about 10%. The data demonstrate a good potential of the new technique for measuring personal exposure to robust airborne viruses over a long period.
AEROSOL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY