The influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 cause trivial upper and severe lower respiratory infections (Influenza virus 290,000 to 650,000 deaths/year). These viruses come into contact with the airways either by direct projection, by secondary inhalation of airborne droplets, or by handling (fomites). The objective of this article is to clarify the mechanisms of production and penetration of droplets of secretions emitted during all expiratory phenomena likely to transport these viruses and come into contact with the respiratory mucosa. The droplets>5μm follow the laws of ballistics, those<5μm follow Brownian motion and remain suspended in the air. The aerosols of droplets are very heterogeneous whether the subject is healthy or sick. During an infectious period, not all droplets contain viral RNA. If these RNAs are detectable around patients, on surfaces, and in the ambient air at variable distances according to the studies (from 0.5m to beyond the patient's room), this is without prejudice to the infectious nature (viability) of the virus and the minimum infectious dose. There is a time lag between the patient's infectious period and that of RNA detection for both viruses. Subsequently, the inhaled particles must meet the laws of fluid dynamics (filtration) to settle in the respiratory tree. All of this partly explains the contagiousness and the clinical expression of these two viruses from the olfactory cleft to the alveoli.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Influenza virus, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Respiratory infection, Airborne particle