Influenza virus under microscope

This digitally-colorized, negative-stained transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image depicted a number of Influenza A virions. (Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

VANCOUVER — This study will make you think twice about stepping outside for a breath of fresh air. A team of scientists from around the world confirmed millions of viruses rising into the atmosphere, traveling — sometimes for thousands of miles — and falling back down to the surface.

The study, carried out by researchers from the U.S., Canada, and Spain, is the first of its kind to confirm viruses are being swept up into the free troposphere — the layer of atmosphere between the area where Earth’s weather systems develop — and below the stratosphere, where airplanes fly.

The numbers are “astonishing” the researchers say; but remember, a virus is a tiny particle, little more than a strand of DNA and a mechanism for attaching to organic matter. Scientists aren’t suggesting the slightest bit that we should all return to spending our lives in lockdown again. Countless studies continue to point to the great health benefits from spending more time outdoors.

“Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter above the planetary boundary layer — that’s 25 viruses for each person in Canada,” says University of British Columbia virologist Curtis Suttle, lead author of the study, in a media release.

Scientists have been finding genetically similar viruses in disparate parts of the planet.

“Roughly 20 years ago we began finding genetically similar viruses occurring in very different environments around the globe,” says Suttle. “This preponderance of long-residence viruses travelling the atmosphere likely explains why—it’s quite conceivable to have a virus swept up into the atmosphere on one continent and deposited on another.”

Suttle and his team found that viruses and bacteria are often swept up into the atmosphere by attaching themselves to particles in soil dust and sea spray. The researchers used platforms in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to detect how many viruses and bacteria were settling there every day. They found billions of viruses and tens of millions of bacteria being deposited there per square meter every day.

“Bacteria and viruses are typically deposited back to Earth via rain events and Saharan dust intrusions. However, the rain was less efficient removing viruses from the atmosphere,” adds study author Isabel Reche, a microbial ecologist from the University of Granada.

The full study is published in International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.

This article was first published on February 8, 2018

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  1. dpaul says:

    Scientists have known this for over 500 years by observing the rot rate of sealed samples at different altitudes. Nothing new here, next government paid for study please.

  2. Piper Rose says:

    On a cold day, I can see chemtrails coming from foreign-made automobile exhaust pipes. I think the mufflers are full of virus and bacteria. Don’t doubt me… I can see it with my own eyes!!!

  3. Hugh Tjardon says:

    They also cross the borders in the dead of night.

  4. Larry Gibb says:

    Need a study for this? Proof that common sense is dead.

  5. roland Osbold says:

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  6. glass desert says:

    I suspect an ulterior motive in these findings. Take Zika for instance. People with Zika traveled to uninfected areas and infected the mosquitoes. Infected mosquitoes didn’t travel from Africa to Brazil. Infected people did.

  7. USMCSniper says:

    Oh dear! The sky is falling down!

  8. Mike says:

    Should I send my money to Al Gore so he can save us from the bacteria falling from the sky?

  9. Herman Christian says:

    Gotta marvel these ” science ” based articles.
    NEWS! The Ground Being Wet Probably Caused by RAIN ! LOL!

  10. samhillxx says:

    For many decades now we’ve known that viruses are ubiquitous on practically every surface on Earth and so minute and lightweight they are distributed, by the millions, in very tiny sneeze and cough droplets. Yet, people are “astonished” that they might also be found on motes of dust and sea spray that are carried thousands of feet into the atmosphere and thereby distributed intercontinentally in storms and on the jet stream!?!?!? WHAaaaat!????

    What kind of anemic imaginations do these people have that such an idea would be ASTONISHING!??

  11. atillathehunney says:

  12. atillathehunney says:

  13. GottaLuvTrumpTrolls says:

    So, if this is true, why were Native Americans so susceptible to small pox, given that dust particles and sea spray has existed for billions of years? Maybe when they say spread by air..does a 747 count?

    1. Wallythedog says:

      It sure couldn’t be because UV light, dry air or any number of other factors can neutralize viruses or that there are at least millions of varieties and only a very small percentage affect humans.

  14. musimann says:

    piosoning mankind with chemtrails

    1. Chris says:

      You do realize that jet fuel burns in the engine around 2,700F degrees? Tell me…how does anything survive that intense heat? The cloud left behind is simply the heated air cooling and condensing moisture. Much like when you step outside and it’s -20F degrees and you exhale. You breathe out more germs than a jet engine could ever possibly create.

      1. Surfing Another Apocalypse says:

        Yes Chris, there are contrails and there are “chemtrails”. Contrails, or condensation trails evaporate. However, what we are witnessing on a daily and global scale is a phenomena which persists, expands and severely alters the sky forming an artificial overcast on a daily basis. The controversy should be seriously addressed.

      2. Elaine.Benes, II says:


  15. Thomas Lucas says:

    The rain lifted the viruses high up into the chemtrailosphere.

  16. Uncle Al says:

    Like a cartoon character in mid-air who will not fall until it looks down, we are now all doomed to rot in place – transformed into oozing putrescences – if hit by a single raindrop or snowflake. Further the daily struggle! Hasten to join shock brigades of exemplary labor to end precipitation! California is the lucky one here. Laugh about tinfoil hats now, suckers.

    Do you know what fish do in water? They poo in it. Enjoy your day at the beach.

  17. Shears-of-Atropos says:

    To quote a cynical friend of mine, “That conclusion is intuitively obvious. Why are you astonished?”

    In other news: The Romans were right: Night air is toxic!

  18. Bobby Leonard says:

    Wow! 800 million virus! And just think! Someone had to count those things!

    1. Uncle Al says:

      Three people – no problem.

  19. Dan says:

    As a right winger with a doctorate and a half, I absolutely love when the lefties try to politicize every little thing that goes on. This is not a problem brought on by global warming and this is not a government conspiracy. Viral particles which are less than a few hundred nano-meters across are so small that yes, they float in the air. For comparison, that is about 30-100 times smaller than a grain of pollen. Of course if you want to believe that Trump is spreading a “new aerosolized super AIDS” then be my guest. Idiots believe what idiots believe.

  20. Jason says:

    For a minute there I thought it was Trump’s fault.