Air and surface contamination by SARS-CoV-2 virus in a tertiary hospital in Wuhan, China

Li Tan, Boyi Ma, Xiaoquan Lai, Lefei Han, Peihua Cao, Junji Zhang, Jianguo Fu, Qian Zhou, Shiqing Wei, Zhenling Wang, Weijun Peng, Lin Yang, Xinping Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Few studies have explored air and surface contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in healthcare settings. Methods: Air and surface samples were collected from the isolation wards and intensive care units designated for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Clinical data and the results of nasopharyngeal specimen and serum antibody testing were also collected for the patient sample. Results: A total of 367 air and surface swab samples were collected from the patient care areas of 15 patients with mild COVID-19 and nine patients with severe/critical COVID-19. Only one air sample taken during the intubation procedure tested positive. High-touch surfaces were slightly more likely to be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 RNA than low-touch surfaces. Contamination rates were slightly higher near severe/critical patients than near mild patients, although this difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Surface contamination was still found near the patients with both positive IgG and IgM. Conclusions: Air and surface contamination with viral RNA was relatively low in these healthcare settings after the enhancement of infection prevention and control. Environmental contamination could still be found near seroconverted patients, suggesting the need to maintain constant vigilance in healthcare settings to reduce healthcare-associated infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Environmental contamination
  • Hospital
  • Infection control
  • Personal protective equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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