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Volume 20, Number 2—February 2014

Poxvirus Viability and Signatures in Historical Relics

Andrea M. McCollumComments to Author , Yu Li, Kimberly Wilkins, Kevin L. Karem, Whitni B. Davidson, Christopher D. Paddock, Mary G. Reynolds, and Inger K. Damon
Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Main Article

Table 1

Viability of infectious variola virus in various materials*

Study, year, (reference) Type of material Storage conditions Maximum storage time viable virus was recovered†
Downie and Dumbell, 1947 (18) Lesion crusts Room temperature, exposed to daylight 196 d
Room temperature, kept in dark 417 d
Refrigerated and then room temperature, exposed to light >196 d after refrigeration, >341 d total)
Refrigerated and then room temperature, kept in dark >196 d after refrigeration, >341 d total)
In a vacuum over calcium chloride 782 d
Saline extract of crusts Refrigerated 432 d
Vesicle fluid on glass slides Room temperature, exposed to daylight 35 d
Room temperature, kept in the dark 84 d
Vesicle fluid diluted in broth Refrigerator 270 d
MacCallum and McDonald, 1957 (19) Crusts embedded in raw cotton Room temperature, indirect light 530 d
30°C, kept in the dark, 58%, 73%, and 84% relative humidity 70, 70, and 60 d, respectively
Wolff and Croon, 1968 (20) Crusts Room temperature, kept in an envelope 4,745 d (13 y)
Huq, 1977 (21) Crusts 35°C, 65%–68% relative humidity 21 d
26°C, <10% and 85%–90% relative humidity 84 and 56 d, respectively
4°C, 10% and 60%–62% relative humidity 112 d
−20°C 112 d
Rao, 1972 (15) Vesicle fluid on glass slides Direct sunlight <1 h
Vesicle fluid in capillary tubes Direct sunlight <2 h

*Specimens from patients with smallpox were used for all studies.
†For several studies, this is the last sampling time point and either no material was left to continue the experiment or no further samplings were conducted.

Main Article

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