Bird Flu Alarm

How stable are avian influenzas in the environment?

Avian influenza viruses are generally sensitive to most detergents and disinfectants, and heating and drying will inactivate them. However, avian influenza viruses can persist in soil, feces, and pond water for varying amounts of time, depending on environmental conditions.

The ability of AI viruses to survive in the environment depends on temperature and humidity. According to a 1998 study,1 the stability of the Hong Kong H5N1 highly pathogenic AI (HPAI) virus in wet feces in the environment was more than 40 days at 4째C (39.2째F). The virus becomes less stable as the temperature increases: at 25째C (77째F) the virus was stable for 8 days and at 35째C (95째F) the virus was stable for only 2 days. The same study reported that H5N1 HPAI virus in dry feces at 25째C (77째F) was stable for only 1 day.