The persistence of human astroviruses dried on representative porous (paper) and nonporous (china) surfaces was investigated. Long-term astrovirus survival on fomites was monitored by an integrated cell culture-reverse transcription-PCR procedure. Viruses were applied to inanimate surfaces in the presence and absence of fecal material, and their survival was assayed at 4 and 20°C with high relative humidity. Astroviruses exhibited a notable persistence when dried on porous and nonporous materials, particularly at low temperature. Short-term survival of astroviruses on fomites was compared to that of other enteric viruses significant for health, such as rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus, and hepatitis A virus. Overall, astroviruses persisted better than poliovirus and adenovirus, although they exhibited a shorter survival than rotavirus and hepatitis A virus. Astroviruses show a high level of persistence at the desiccation step, which is of major significance in determining the chance of subsequent virus survival dried on fomites. Astroviruses are able to survive on inert surfaces long enough to suggest that fomites may play a relevant role in the secondary transmission of astrovirus diarrhea
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