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Advances in Virology
Volume 2011, Article ID 734690, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus

Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Received 25 November 2010; Revised 31 July 2011; Accepted 31 July 2011

Academic Editor: Alain Kohl

Copyright © 2011 K. H. Chan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%). The better stability of SARS coronavirus at low temperature and low humidity environment may facilitate its transmission in community in subtropical area (such as Hong Kong) during the spring and in air-conditioned environments. It may also explain why some Asian countries in tropical area (such as Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) with high temperature and high relative humidity environment did not have major community outbreaks of SARS.