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November 1, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(18):1541. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820440049013

The extent to which infectious agents pass from the respiratory tract of one host to that of another through the air has been frequently investigated. William F. and Mildred W. Wells1 have emphasized the possible importance of "droplet nuclei," ultramicroscopic particles resulting from the evaporation of expelled spray. Such nuclei are little influenced by gravity and may carry viable bacteria in the air for many hours. Wells and Brown2 have demonstrated the prolonged viability of the influenza virus in the air. Now further important experimental evidence along these lines has recently been reported by Andrews and Glover3 of the National Institute for Medical Research in England.

The British investigators exposed normal ferrets in a closed room to ferrets experimentally inoculated with influenza A virus. Each room was about 6 by 6 by 9 feet high and was provided with a window facing the door. Before each experiment