Published: Sep 1948 | Journal of Experimental Medicine, 88 (3) 361-368
The influence of relative humidity on the infectivity of air-borne influenza A virus (PR8 strain)
"White mice were exposed to atmospheres containing known amounts of atomized influenza A virus (PR8 strain) of constant potency under conditions of varying humidity. It was found that an amount of atomized virus suspension which produced a 100 per cent mortality rate in animals exposed at 30 and 80 per cent relative humidity, respectively, resulted in the death of only 22.5 per cent of mice at a humidity of 50% The humidities between these values gave intermediate results." (see graph)
"The infectivity of the air-borne virus decreased so rapidly at a humidity of 50 per cent that it was impossible to secure a 100 per cent mortality rate in the exposed mice even by greatly increasing the dose of virus atomized."
"The use of a dialyzed virus suspension (comment: salt free virus suspension) at a humidity of 50 per cent resulted in the death of all exposed mice. This suggested that the deleterious influence of humidity was related to the presence of sodium chloride in the atomized suspension."
"These findings with influenza virus closely resembled those obtained by Dunklin and Puck with the bacteria strains pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci. This suggests that the factor responsible for the lethal effect of humidity is common to salt containing droplets and may inactivate viruses and bacteria."