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Presence of influenza virus on touch-surfaces in kindergartens and primary schools.

Abstract

Influenza virus can survive on some surfaces, facilitating indirect person-to-person transmission. We collected swab samples weekly from commonly-touched surfaces in 7 kindergartens and primary schools during the 2017/18 winter influenza season in Hong Kong. We detected influenza virus RNA in 12/1352 samples (<1%) collected from 7/11 classrooms (5-2x106 RNA copies/ml). Viral RNA was more frequently recovered from communal items inside classrooms such as bookshelves and doorknobs, suggesting these surfaces may cause greater potential risks of transmission during influenza epidemics. Surface contamination indicates the potential role of fomites in influenza virus transmission in schools.

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