Detection of Pathogenic Viruses in the Ambient Air in Seoul, Korea
The possible transport of pathogenic microorganisms during Asian dust events could be an important concern for health workers; however, this is still uncertain owing to a lack of supporting evidence. The present study aimed to investigate the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in air samples collected during the Asian and non-Asian dust periods. Between March and September 2016, air samples were collected at three weather observation stations in Seoul using a high-volume air sampler. Multiplex PCR was performed using the Allplex™ respiratory and gastrointestinal panel assay kits to detect 46 microorganisms. RT-PCR was performed for klassevirus, Aichivirus, and human parechovirus (HPeV) detection. In total, 71 air samples were collected during the Asian (8 samples) and non-Asian (63 samples) dust events. During an Asian dust event, only one human rhinovirus (HRV)-positive air sample was collected on April 23. During the non-Asian dust period, HRV, HPeV, norovirus (NoV), enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), and Blastocystis hominis were detected in four, two, one, one, one, and one air samples, respectively. Pathogenic viruses were mostly detected in ambient air samples during the non-Asian dust period, which suggests a possible air-borne transmission of viral pathogens; however, the role of Asian dust in epidemics caused by pathogenic viruses is unclear.
KeywordsAir Virus Dust
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