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      Presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on playground surfaces and water fountains

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          Abstract

          The possibility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission by fomites or environmental surfaces has been suggested. It is unclear if SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in outdoor public areas. The objective of the current study was to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in environmental samples collected at public playgrounds and water fountains, in a country with high disease prevalence. Environmental samples were collected from six cities in central Israel. Samples were collected from drinking fountains and high-touch recreational equipment at playgrounds. Sterile pre-moistened swabs were used to collect the samples, put in viral transfer media and transferred to the laboratory. Viral detection was achieved by real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction, targeting four genes. Forty-three samples were collected from playground equipment and 25 samples from water fountains. Two of the 43 (4.6%) samples from playground equipment and one (4%) sample from a drinking fountain tested positive. It is unclear whether the recovery of viral RNA on outdoor surfaces also indicates the possibility of acquiring the virus. Adherence to environmental and personal hygiene in urban settings seems prudent.

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          Air, Surface Environmental, and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) From a Symptomatic Patient

          This study documents results of SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of environmental surfaces and personal protective equipment surrounding 3 COVID-19 patients in isolation rooms in a Singapore hospital.
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            Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions

            We previously reported the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in different clinical samples. 1 This virus can be detected on different surfaces in a contaminated site. 2 Here, we report the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions. We first measured the stability of SARS-CoV-2 at different temperatures. SARS-CoV-2 in virus transport medium (final concentration ∼6·8 log unit of 50% tissue culture infectious dose [TCID50] per mL) was incubated for up to 14 days and then tested for its infectivity (appendix p 1). The virus is highly stable at 4°C, but sensitive to heat. At 4°C, there was only around a 0·7 log-unit reduction of infectious titre on day 14. With the incubation temperature increased to 70°C, the time for virus inactivation was reduced to 5 mins. We further investigated the stability of this virus on different surfaces. Briefly, a 5 μL droplet of virus culture (∼7·8 log unit of TCID50 per mL) was pipetted on a surface (appendix p 1; ∼cm2 per piece) and left at room temperature (22°C) with a relative humidity of around 65%. The inoculated objects retrieved at desired time-points were immediately soaked with 200 μL of virus transport medium for 30 mins to elute the virus. Therefore, this recovery of virus does not necessarily reflect the potential to pick up the virus from casual contact. No infectious virus could be recovered from printing and tissue papers after a 3-hour incubation, whereas no infectious virus could be detected from treated wood and cloth on day 2. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on smooth surfaces. No infectious virus could be detected from treated smooth surfaces on day 4 (glass and banknote) or day 7 (stainless steel and plastic). Strikingly, a detectable level of infectious virus could still be present on the outer layer of a surgical mask on day 7 (∼0·1% of the original inoculum). Interestingly, a biphasic decay of infectious SARS-CoV-2 could be found in samples recovered from these smooth surfaces (appendix pp 2–7). 39 representative non-infectious samples tested positive by RT-PCR 3 (data not shown), showing that non-infectious viruses could still be recovered by the eluents. We also tested the virucidal effects of disinfectants by adding 15 μL of SARS-CoV-2 culture (∼7·8 log unit of TCID50 per mL) to 135 μL of various disinfectants at working concentration (appendix p 1). With the exception of a 5-min incubation with hand soap, no infectious virus could be detected after a 5-min incubation at room temperature (22°C). Additionally, we also found that SARS-CoV-2 is extremely stable in a wide range of pH values at room temperature (pH 3–10; appendix p 1). Overall, SARS-CoV-2 can be highly stable in a favourable environment, 4 but it is also susceptible to standard disinfection methods.
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              Is Open Access

              Detection of air and surface contamination by SARS-CoV-2 in hospital rooms of infected patients

              Understanding the particle size distribution in the air and patterns of environmental contamination of SARS-CoV-2 is essential for infection prevention policies. Here we screen surface and air samples from hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Environmental sampling is conducted in three airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) in the ICU and 27 AIIRs in the general ward. 245 surface samples are collected. 56.7% of rooms have at least one environmental surface contaminated. High touch surface contamination is shown in ten (66.7%) out of 15 patients in the first week of illness, and three (20%) beyond the first week of illness (p = 0.01, χ2 test). Air sampling is performed in three of the 27 AIIRs in the general ward, and detects SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive particles of sizes >4 µm and 1–4 µm in two rooms, despite these rooms having 12 air changes per hour. This warrants further study of the airborne transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Epidemiol Infect
                Epidemiol Infect
                HYG
                Epidemiology and Infection
                Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK )
                0950-2688
                1469-4409
                2021
                08 March 2021
                : 149
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Pediatric Emergency Unit Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center , Zerifin, Israel
                [2 ]Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University , Tel Aviv, Israel
                [3 ]Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev , Beer-Sheva, Israel
                [4 ]Faculty of Life Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev , Beer-Sheva, Israel
                [5 ]Molecular Laboratory, Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center , Zerifin, Israel
                [6 ]Pediatric Infectious Diseases Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center , Zerifin, Israel
                [7 ]Division of Internal Medicine, Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center , Zerifin, Israel
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Eran Kozer, E-mail: erank@ 123456asaf.health.gov.il
                Article
                S0950268821000546
                10.1017/S0950268821000546
                7985893
                33678202
                f29be351-fb67-404f-a4fe-b4d993a7c564
                © The Author(s) 2021

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means subject to acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 11, Pages: 3
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                Short Paper

                Public health
                covid-19,fomites,playgrounds,sars-cov-2,water fountains
                Public health
                covid-19, fomites, playgrounds, sars-cov-2, water fountains

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