Bioaerosol sampling in modern agriculture: A novel approach for emerging pathogen surveillance?

Benjamin D. Anderson, Mengmeng Ma, Yao Xia, Tao Wang, Bo Shu, John A. Lednicky, Mai Juan Ma, Jiahai Lu, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background. Modern agricultural practices create environmental conditions conducive to the emergence of novel pathogens. Current surveillance efforts to assess the burden of emerging pathogens in animal production facilities in China are sparse. In Guangdong Province pig farms, we compared bioaerosol surveillance for influenza A virus to surveillance in oral pig secretions and environmental swab specimens. Methods. During the 2014 summer and fall/winter seasons, we used 3 sampling techniques to study 5 swine farms weekly for influenza A virus. Samples were molecularly tested for influenza A virus, and positive specimens were further characterized with culture. Risk factors for influenza A virus positivity for each sample type were assessed. Results. Seventy-one of 354 samples (20.1%) were positive for influenza A virus RNA by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. Influenza Avirus positivity in bioaerosol samples was a statistically significant predictor for influenza A virus positivity in pig oral secretion and environmental swab samples. Temperature of <20C was a significant predictor of influenza A virus positivity in bioaerosol samples. Discussions. Climatic factors and routine animal husbandry practices may increase the risk of human exposure to aerosolized influenza A viruses in swine farms. Data suggest that bioaerosol sampling in pig barns may be a noninvasive and efficient means to conduct surveillance for novel influenza viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-545
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioaerosol
  • China
  • Emerging pathogens
  • Influenza A virus
  • Modern agriculture
  • One Health
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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