This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Differences in the Survival, Transmission, and Susceptibility to Disinfection of M1 and M5 Protein Possessing Streptococcus pyogenes and Other Pathogens on Airplane Cabin Surfaces




Bryant, Kayla

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Biological Sciences


Recent reports regarding the transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other microorganisms in airplane cabins compel us to examine the factors for pathogen transmission in that environment. We tested the survival and transmission of S. pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus or GAS), the causative agent of diseases such as Strep Throat, Necrotizing Fasciitis, and several other maladies on surfaces taken from airplane cabins. This is a first step in determining risk factors for transmission of bacterial diseases in airline cabins. GAS strains and either PBS or artificial saliva were mounted onto sterile airplane surface coupons and incubated before determining survival under environmental conditions similar to airplane cabins in flight. Pigskin was used as a transmission vehicle to determine transmissibility of S. pyogenes from cabin surfaces to skin. Transmission rates were determined by placing GAS and artificial saliva or PBS onto coupon surfaces then uniformly pressing these swatches onto pigskin. GAS possessing the M1 protein survived for a minimum of 18 days, regardless of solution or surface. GAS possessing the M5 protein was inhibited by saliva, surviving a minimum of 6 days. M1 serotypes were transmissible for a minimum of 12 days while M5 serotypes were for 4 days. These findings indicate that this bacterium easily has the ability to be transmitted in airplane cabins by contact/surface transmission. To provide a solution for our results, we also investigated the use of a hypochlorous acid product (Nature Unleashed Anolyte) for disinfection.