Kozer E(1)(2), Rinott E(3), Kozer G(4), Bar-Haim A(5), Benveniste-Levkovitz P(5), Klainer H(6), Perl S(7), Youngster I(2)(6). Author information:
(1)Pediatric Emergency Unit Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center, Zerifin,
(2)Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
(3)Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva,
(4)Faculty of Life Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva,
(5)Molecular Laboratory, Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center, Zerifin, Israel.
(6)Pediatric Infectious Diseases Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center, Zerifin,
(7)Division of Internal Medicine, Shamir (Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center,
The possibility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission by fomites or environmental surfaces has been suggested. It is unclear if SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in outdoor public areas. The objective of the current study was to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in environmental samples collected at public playgrounds and water fountains, in a country with high disease prevalence. Environmental samples were collected from six cities in central Israel. Samples were collected from drinking fountains and high-touch recreational equipment at playgrounds. Sterile pre-moistened swabs were used to collect the samples, put in viral transfer media and transferred to the laboratory. Viral detection was achieved by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, targeting four genes. Forty-three samples were collected from playground equipment and 25 samples from water fountains. Two of the 43 (4.6%) samples from playground equipment and one (4%) sample from a drinking fountain tested positive. It is unclear whether the recovery of viral RNA on outdoor surfaces also indicates the possibility of acquiring the virus. Adherence to environmental and personal hygiene in urban settings seems prudent.
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