Preventing the Spread of Hantavirus Employing Dust Abatement Techniques

Mary Santangelo, James Wynne, Chris Lloyd, Will Straube, Arthur Snow
Naval Research Laboratory Navy

In this study, two effective, non-toxic, wind erosion palliative materials were analyzed for their efficacy in preventing the spread of bacterial spores. Desert sand was employed in a laboratory setting with a non-toxic simulant bacterium in an attempt to accurately represent the spreadability of the Hantavirus. Spore simulants were used instead of viruses due to availability, decreased susceptibility to desiccation and detection ability without involving tissue cultures. The simulant was used to contaminate sand in a controlled environment, and an artificial turbulence was introduced using compressed air to generate airflow that could be expected in a desert environment. The airborne spores were identified both qualitatively and quantitatively through microscopy, Gram staining, plating, and incubation to monitor effectiveness. A water-based polysaccharide product, Surtac, was found to be most effective for the immobilization of bacteria on sand and greatly reduced the amount of contaminant that becomes airborne. The results suggest that the two wind erosion products used in this study may be successfully employed to reduce the ability of bacterial spores to spread in arid regions.

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