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Study chamber offers snapshot of airborne flu spre

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    Posted: February 21 2018 at 9:01am
Study chamber offers snapshot of airborne flu spread in ferrets

A research team based at the University of Hong Kong described a transmission chamber that allowed them to measure and characterize airborne particles involved in flu transmission in ferrets, which they say could help study the transmission of other respiratory pathogens. The group reported their findings today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Scientists have been working to clarify the role of contact, droplet, and airborne transmission in the spread of flu and other diseases. The new transmission chamber separates virus-carrying particles by size and helps experts determine the sizes involved in airborne spread among ferrets.

The researchers found that transmission between ferrets occurred by large and fine particles 1.5 micrometers or larger. When they assessed transmissibility of 2009 H1N1 and H3N2 viruses, they found that smaller particles may play a more important role in spread among ferrets than seasonal H3N2, hinting that strains might vary in their transmission modes.

Overall, the findings added more evidence that flu transmission among mammals can occur by droplets as well as fine droplet nuclei. Transmission among ferrets was most efficient before fever onset and continued for 5 days after inoculation.

Feb 20 PNAS study ;
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