Vertical Concentration Gradient of Influenza Viruses Resuspended from Floor Dust
Resuspended floor dust constitutes up to sixty percent of the total particulate matter in indoor air. This fraction may also include virus-laden particles that settle on the floor after being emitted by an infected individual. This research focuses on predicting the concentration of influenza A viruses in resuspended dust, generated by people walking in a room, at various heights above the floor. Using a sonic anemometer, we measured the velocity field from floor to ceiling at 10-cm intervals to estimate the magnitude of turbulence generated by walking. The resulting eddy diffusion coefficients varied between 0.06 m2 s-1 and 0.20 m2 s-1 and were maximal at ~0.75-1 m above the floor, approximately the height of the swinging hand. We used these coefficients in an atmospheric transport model to predict virus concentrations as a function of the carrier particle size and height in the room. Results indicate that the concentration of resuspended viruses at 1 m above the floor is about seven times the concentration at 2 m. Thus, shorter people may be exposed to higher concentrations of pathogens in resuspended dust indoors. This study illuminates the possibility that particle resuspension could be a mode of disease transmission. It also emphasizes the importance of considering resuspension of particulate matter when designing ventilation systems and flooring in hospitals and residences.