Study of airborne viral particles associated with the influence of saharan air intrusions in san cristóbal de la laguna, tenerife

  1. González Martín, Cristina
Supervised by:
  1. Basilio Valladares Hernández Director
  2. Dale W. Griffin Co-director

Defence university: Universidad de La Laguna

Fecha de defensa: 19 September 2014

  1. Juan Pedro Díaz González Chair
  2. Leonardo Lorente Ramos Secretary
  3. David J. Smith Committee member
  1. Obstetricia y Ginecología, Pediatría, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Toxicología, Medicina Legal y Forense y Parasitología

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 369435 DIALNET


The study of airborne microorganisms and the possibility of long-range global scale transport is an emerging field of research and desert dust storms are believed to be a primary mechanism of aerosolization and dispersion. Researchers have attempted to determine the most efficient ways to collect and detect airborne microorganisms, but few studies have been published reference the concentration and diversity of airborne microbes at a given location. The Canary Islands are located approximately 100 km offshore of the western coastline of North Africa and are constantly impacted by Saharan dust storms. This dissertation was focused on identifying airborne viruses and genes relevant to Public Health and trying to determine whether detected airborne viruses were related to Saharan dust events. Six viruses (Adenovirus, Enterovirus, Rotavirus, Norovirus, F ¿ DNA and F - RNA Coliphages) and three antibiotic resistant genes (MEC-A, CTX-M1 and TEM) were targeted for sample screening using polymerase chain reaction based assays and sequencing. Seventy ¿ three out of one hundred and thirty (52.3%) samples were positive for at least one the genetic targets (positive hits for Enteroviruses, Rotaviruses, F ¿ DNA Coliphages and TEM). No statistical significance was observed regarding dust storms, but associations to other climatic variables, such as seasonality or PM levels, were found. This is the first airborne viral composition project performed in the Canary Islands and the first work to document the detection of human pathogenic viruses and antibiotic resistant genes in an open field study. However, this is only the first step on this new research field and the use of advanced technologies will facilitate our understanding of the global scale spread of viruses through the atmosphere and aid in public and animal health surveillance.