Detection of Airborne Viruses in a Pediatrics Department Measured Using Real-Time qPCR Coupled to an Air-Sampling Filter Method

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Children are vulnerable to viral infections. The study discussed in this article investigates the possibility of aerosol transmission of viruses in children under age 18 in the pediatrics department of a medical center in Taipei, Taiwan. After first using the filtration method to collect viral aerosols, the authors combined it with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to detect influenza A virus (INFAV), human adenovirus (HAdV), and enterovirus. Of 33 aerosol samples collected from the emergency room of the pediatrics department, 8 (24%) were positive for INFAV, 12 (36%) for HAdV, and 5 (15%) for enterovirus. HAdV was detected from the aerosol of 26 samples, but INFAV and enteroviruses were not. The filter and real-time qPCR can be used to detect and quantify the viral load in aerosols, in which enteroviruses had the highest viral titer. In summary, a well-established filter/real-time qPCR assay was successfully applied to measure viral aerosols in the occupational environment. Environmental monitoring of airborne viruses could provide an early indicator of dangerous viruses in the air of hospitals.

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