Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova

Second Advisor

Dr. Sidney Crow

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Simmons


Viral transmission from the environment can occur via fomites, but there is uncertainty about which factors most affect viral persistence on fomites. Children are a population highly susceptible to viral infection, and sharing common fomites like toys may spread infection. The objective of this research was to assess the survival of enveloped viruses on the surfaces of children’s toys, using bacteriophage ϕ6 as a surrogate for enveloped human viruses. The survival of infectious ϕ6 virions was observed over a 24 hour period at 22°C and relative humidities of 40% & 60%. On the surface of children’s toys, ϕ6 was better able to persist at 60% RH (log10 reduction< 2 log10) over a 24 hour period than it was at 40% RH (log10 reduction> 6 log10). If ϕ6 virus persists on toy material for up to 24 hours, then viral transmission via shared fomites is certainly significant.