Detection of Measles Virus RNA in Air and Surface Specimens in a Hospital Setting

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Measles virus (MeV) is known to be highly contagious, with an infectious period lasting from 4 days before to 4 days after rash onset. An unvaccinated, young, female patient with measles confirmed by direct epidemiologic link was hospitalized on day 5 after rash onset. Environmental samples were collected over the 4-day period of hospitalization in a single room. MeV RNA was detectable in air specimens, on surface specimens, and on respirators on days 5–8 after rash onset. This is the first report of environmental surveillance for MeV, and the results suggest that MeV-infected fomites may be present in healthcare settings.

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