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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2015;12(4):266-75. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2014.974808.

Modeling of human viruses on hands and risk of infection in an office workplace using micro-activity data.

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a Environmental Health Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health , University of Arizona , Tucson , Arizona.


Although the number of illnesses resulting from indirect viral pathogen transmission could be substantial, it is difficult to estimate the relative risks because of the wide variation and uncertainty in human behavior, variable viral concentrations on fomites, and other exposure factors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the micro-activity approach for assessment of microbial risk by adapting a mathematical model to estimate probability of viral infection from indirect transmission. To evaluate the model, measurements of phage loading on fomites and hands collected before and after implementation of a Healthy Workplace Project intervention were used. Parameter distributions were developed from these data, as well as for micro-activity rates, contact surface areas, phage transfer efficiencies, and inactivation rates. Following the Monte Carlo simulations (n = 1,000), the estimated phage loading on hands was not significantly different from the loading of phage on hands measured in the experimental trials. The model was then used to demonstrate that the Healthy Workplace Project intervention significantly reduced risk of infection by 77% for rotavirus and rhinovirus. This is the first published study to successfully evaluate a model focused on the indirect transmission of viruses via hand contact with measured data and provide an assessment of the micro-activity approach to microbial risk evaluation.


indirect pathogen transmission; infection risk; micro-activity; office workers; viral infection; workplace intervention

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