Environmental sampling for disease surveillance: Recent advances and recommendations for best practice

Joshua L. Santarpia, Elizabeth Klug, Ashley Ravnholdt, Sean M. Kinahan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The study of infectious diseases includes both the progression of the disease in its host and how it transmits between hosts. Understanding disease transmission is important for recommending effective interventions, protecting healthcare workers, and informing an effective public health response. Sampling the environment for infectious diseases is critical to public health since it can provide an understanding of the mechanisms of transmission, characterization of contamination in hospitals and other public areas, and the spread of a disease within a community. Measurements of biological aerosols, particularly those that may cause disease, have been an ongoing topic of research for decades, and so a wide variety of technological solutions exist. This wide field of possibilities can create confusion, particularly when different approaches yield different answers. Therefore, guidelines for best practice in this area are important to allow more effective use of this data in public health decisions. This review examines air, surface and water/wastewater sampling methods, with a focus on aerosol sampling, and a goal of recommending approaches to designing and implementing sampling systems that may incorporate multiple strategies. This is accomplished by developing a framework for designing and evaluating a sampling strategy, reviewing current practices and emerging technologies for sampling and analysis, and recommending guidelines for best practice in the area of aerosol sampling for infectious disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-461
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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