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Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 Feb 4. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13139. [Epub ahead of print]

Bioaerosol and surface sampling for the surveillance of influenza A virus in swine.

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Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Canadian Network for Public Health Intelligence, National Microbiology Laboratory, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Influenza A virus in swine is of significant importance to human and veterinary public health. Environmental sampling techniques that prove practical would enhance surveillance for influenza viruses in swine. The primary objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of bioaerosol and surface sampling for the detection of influenza virus in swine barns with a secondary objective of piloting a mobile application for data collection.


Sampling was conducted at a large swine operation between July 2016 and August 2017. Oral fluids and surface swabs were collected from each pen in multiple rooms and oral fluids combined by side of the room. Room-level air samples were collected using four bioaerosol samplers: a low volume polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) filter sampler, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's low volume cyclone sampler, a 2-stage Andersen impactor, and one high volume cyclonic sampler. Samples were analysed using quantitative RT-PCR. Data and results were reported using a mobile data application.


Eighty-nine composite oral fluid samples, 70 surface swabs, and 122 bioaerosol samples were analyzed. Detection rates for influenza virus RNA in swine barn samples were 71.1% for oral fluids, 70.8% for surface swabs, and 71.1% for the PTFE sampler. Analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between the results of the PTFE sampler and the surface swabs with oral fluid results (p<0.001 and p<0.01 respectively). In addition, both the PTFE sampler (p<0.01) and surface swabs (p=0.03) were significantly correlated with, and predictors of oral fluid results.


Bioaerosol sampling using PTFE samplers is an effective hands-off approach for detecting influenza virus activity among swine. Further study is required for the implementation of this approach for surveillance and risk assessment of circulating influenza viruses of swine origin. In addition, mobile data collection stands to be an invaluable tool in the field by allowing secure, real-time reporting of samples and associated results. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Aerosols; influenza A virus; surveillance; swine


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