Mode of Transmission: Droplet

Droplet transmission requires a pathogen to be transferred through the air from its reservoir in a droplet of body secretions. These droplets are relatively large and usually will fall from suspension after 3-6 feet of travel. The droplets will rapidly fall on nearby surfaces (tables, door knobs, telephones, elevator buttons, etc.), and may remain viable. The survivability of the pathogen depends on its type. Some pathogens will live for a few minutes to hours, while others may survive for a few days, outside of a host.



Droplet transmission occurs when a droplet from coughing, sneezing or talking carry the pathogen to the hosts body. The transmission is completed by:

  • Inhaling droplets
  • Droplets entering the mucous membranes of the face
  • A host touching droplets that have settled on surfaces and then touching their face (mouth, eyes, nose).


Examples of illnesses caused by droplet transmission are:

  • Strep Throat
  • Influenza
  • The common cold
  • COVID-19