Alisha Helm

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Jeremy M. Slagley, PhD


This article presents a study that investigates the effectiveness of a common decontamination (decon) strategy used by Airmen in the United States Air Force who may find themselves in a densely populated area during an emergency evacuation. Ultimately, this study addresses the following questions: Is there a significant difference in the number of viral particles being re-aerosolized before and after the applied decon strategy, and is this difference significant enough to consider the decon strategy effective? The study entails using MS2 bacteriophage to contaminate swatches of Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) fabric. Swatches were secured to a vortex centered in the middle of a mini aerosol chamber. MS2 was aerosolized at a 10^10 PFU/mL concentration using a six-jet Collison nebulizer to contaminate the swatches. After the decon procedure was applied, swatches were vibrated at a 50 Hz vortex frequency to re-aerosolize the MS2. Same-day plaque assay analyses determined overall aerosol concentrations post-decontamination (wet fabric re-aerosolization – WFRA) and pre-decontamination (dry fabric re-aerosolization-DFRA). The null hypothesis, suggesting no statistical significance between the WFRA and DFRA, was rejected with a Student’s T-Test p-value of 0.001. Results showed less than a 1 log10 reduction in PFU/mL for re-aerosolized MS2 after the decontamination procedure was applied.

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release. Case number on file.