Well, Jane Brody in “The Well” in the New York Times has a story that is a good example of microbiology of the built environment: A Viral Misery That Loves Company.
In it she details her own experiences with Norovirus. And she also discusses how this virus spreads readily in the built environment – day care centers, retirement centers, schools and more – and of course – cruise ships. And the virus is hardy. (Though I could do without the almost-advertisements for specific products).
Anyway – not a lot about the built environment in the post but Norovirus gets so so so much press. And for good reason. It is annoying. And gross. And kind of interesting. So – seems like this would be a good topic for getting people interested in the microbiology of the built environment and in how building science can help understand said microbiology.
There are some papers worth looking at out there on the topic for those who want to know more. A great place to start is Norovirus, gastroenteritis, and indoor environmental quality by William Nazaroff in Indoor Air. He starts of the article discussing creating a reference collection (with more than 400 articles) and printing the abstracts to browse through them. But then he gets distracted by an abstract discussing airborne transmission of – what else – viruses like Norovirus. He also discusses whether transmission of Norovirus and appropriate topic for the journal Indoor Air. The article is a great read and a great place to start to see some discussion of the connection between Norovirus and Building Science.