Aerosol susceptibility of influenza virus to UV-C light

James J. McDevitt, Stephen N. Rudnick, Lewis J. Radonovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The person-to-person transmission of influenza virus, especially in the event of a pandemic caused by a highly virulent strain of influenza, such as H5N1 avian influenza, is of great concern due to widespread mortality and morbidity. The consequences of seasonal influenza are also substantial. Because airborne transmission appears to play a role in the spread of influenza, public health interventions should focus on preventing or interrupting this process. Air disinfection via upper-room 254-nm germicidal UV (UV-C) light in public buildings may be able to reduce influenza transmission via the airborne route. We characterized the susceptibility of influenza A virus (H1N1, PR-8) aerosols to UV-C light using a benchtop chamber equipped with a UVC exposure window. We evaluated virus susceptibility to UV-C doses ranging from 4 to 12 J/m2 at three relative humidity levels (25, 50, and 75%). Our data show that the Z values (susceptibility factors) were higher (more susceptible) to UV-C than what has been reported previously. Furthermore, dose-response plots showed that influenza virus susceptibility increases with decreasing relative humidity. This work provides an essential scientific basis for designing and utilizing effective upper-room UV-C light installations for the prevention of the airborne transmission of influenza by characterizing its susceptibility to UV-C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1666-1669
Number of pages4
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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