Are Germs Falling From the Sky?

From Drugs.com - February 8, 2018

Are Germs Falling From the Sky?

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2018 -- As if you were not worried enough about the germs on surfaces around you, new research suggests that viruses and bacteria are literally dropping down on your head.

Scientists report that large numbers of all manner of germs circulate in, and fall from, the Earth's atmosphere. Not only that, the virus that lands on you may have traveled from another continent, the researchers added.

The germs are swept up in soil dust and sea spray into an area called the free troposphere. It's located above weather systems but below the stratosphere where jets fly.

At that altitude, viruses and bacteria can be carried thousands of miles before they fall back to Earth's surface, the researchers said.

"Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter above the planetary boundary layer -- that's 25 viruses for each person in Canada," said study co-senior author Curtis Suttle, a virologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Deposit rates for viruses were nine to 461 times greater than for bacteria, the researchers said.


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