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Monday, 27 June 2016

Viruses sustain for hours on toys and may cause infection to children

A research carried out by a group from Georgia State University that certain viruses like Influenza can survive for long enough on toys, which may cause serious infection to children.

Plastic toys (Image source: Wikipedia)
In an experiment on a flexible plastic toy (a squeaking frog) they tested how long enveloped virus can survive. They recovered infectious virions from the toy after 24 hours after contamination at 60% relative humidity (RH) and up to 10 hours at 40% RH. This provides enough proof that enveloped virus can survive long and the outer layer play useful role in support of their survival.  The research was published in The Pediatric Infectious disease Journal.

"People don't really think about getting viruses from inanimate objects," said lead author Richard Bearden II to EurekAlert, who holds a Master of Science degree in biology from Georgia State. "They think about getting them from other people. Children are vulnerable to contracting infectious disease because they put their hands and foreign objects in their mouths, and their immune systems aren't fully developed."

Toys are one of the important mode of viral disease spread among children. Such toys in common playing areas are more exposed to outbreak of viral illness. It was remain unknown of how long enveloped viruses can survive in inanimate objects, such as toys and may have been a difficult in assessment of potential risk and design of effective control measures such as disinfection.

The study then followed to identify how long does it take to become inactive on children’s toys in typical room temperature and indoor relative humidity levels. For this study, researchers undertook bacteriophage (those viruses that are capable to infect bacteria) as model of inspection. They contaminate the toy with this bacteriophage at 22 degree Celsius at either 40 or 60 percent RH. The result after 24 hours was only 1percent virus remained infectious on the toy at 60percent RH. The virus was much less stable in 40percent RH and that is common in indoor environments.

“Still, if any virus remains, there's a risk that children could become ill. Indoor relative humidity can vary based on where a person lives, so it's important to concentrate on preventing the spread of disease”, Bearden said.

The study was funded by a Georgia State University Research Initiation Grant.

Source: EurekAlert


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