Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2014

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Nonnenmann, Matthew W

First Committee Member

Nonnenmann, Matthew W

Second Committee Member

Desjardin, Lucy E

Third Committee Member

Peters, Thomas M


Characterizing airborne influenza virus exposure is important for infection prevention and exposure control in health care and public settings. Detecting airborne influenza virus is important in assessing infection risk. The virus must also be protected from deterioration during aerosol sampling and long term storage. RNA preservation buffers (RNAPBs) may stabilize influenza virus after sampling and during storage. Bioaerosol samplers are used to collect airborne influenza virus, and many different types of samplers are available.

The objectives of this experiment were to: 1) compare influenza virus concentrations across bioaerosol samplers; 2) compare the efficacy of RNAPB over Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) as a sample collection media; and 3) determine whether RNAPB stabilizes viral particles stored over time. In this experiment we aerosolized active influenza virus (H1N1) in a bioaerosol chamber and compared sampling efficiencies using two different samplers: the SKC Biosampler and NIOSH Biosampler, and two different medias: Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) and an RNAPB. Ten 15-minute experimental trials were completed. We also compared HBSS and RNAPB in terms of the maintenance of virus RNA integrity during storage at room temperatures. Samples were stored at room temperature for 1, 4, 7, and 14 days. Virus concentrations were measured and compared at each time point.

Significant differences were found between sampler and media type - the SKC Biosampler collected a higher concentration of virus than the NIOSH Biosampler, and HBSS collected a higher concentration of virus than RNAPB. In storage at room temperature conditions, RNAPB maintained virus in concentrations significantly greater than in HBSS. The results of this experiment indicates that the SKC Biosampler should be used to characterize airborne influenza and that RNAPB should not be used as a sampling media but can be used to preserve samples if needed.


Airborne, Biosampler, Influenza, Media, Sampling


ix, 73 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-73).


Copyright 2014 Elanie Michelle Girlando