Germs’ persistence: Nothing to sneeze at

One study finds flu viruses can survive in the open for months

By Janet Raloff, 14:40 PM November 29, 2011

Years ago, I read (probably in Science News) that viruses can’t survive long outside their hosts. That implied any surface onto which a sneezed-out germ found itself — such as the arm of a chair, kitchen counter or car-door handle — would effectively decontaminate itself within hours to a day. A pair of new flu papers now indicates that although many germs will die within hours, none of us should count on it. Given the right environment, viruses can remain infectious — potentially for many w...

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