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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 May;57(5):1394-9.

Effect of relative humidity and air temperature on survival of hepatitis A virus on environmental surfaces.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Stainless steel disks (diameter, 1 cm) were contaminated with fecally suspended hepatitis A virus (HAV; strain HM-175) and held at low (25% +/- 5%), medium (55% +/- 5%), high (80% +/- 5%), or ultrahigh (95% +/- 5%) relative humidity (RH) at an air temperature of 5,20, or 35 degrees C. HAV survival was inversely proportional to the level of RH and temperature, and the half-lives of the virus ranged from greater than 7 days at the low RH and 5 degrees C to about 2 h at the ultrahigh RH and 35 degrees C. In parallel tests with fecally suspended Sabin poliovirus (PV) type 1 at the low and ultrahigh RH, all PV activity was lost within 4 h at the low RH whereas at the ultrahigh RH it remained detectable up to 12 h. HAV could therefore survive much better than PV on nonporous environmental surfaces. Moreover, the ability of HAV to survive better at low levels of RH is in direct contrast to the behavior of other enteroviruses. These findings should help in understanding the genesis of HAV outbreaks more clearly and in designing better measures for their control and prevention.

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