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An assumption often made in assaying for plaqueforming viruses is that the formation of plaques among several cell culture bottles will follow a Poisson distribution. Examining the results of several virus assays using Fisher's index of dispersion, the assumption of a Poisson distribution was found to be warranted in most cases, but not always. The distribution of plaque counts will affect the statistical evaluation of such data; confidence limits for virus titer based on Poisson statistics will be appropriate in many instances. For purposes of sample design, an approach based on the Poisson assumption is recommended.
virology, statistics, Poisson distribution, water monitoring, sample design, plaque assay
senior statistician, Computer Sciences Corporation, at the U.S. EPA, Cincinnati, OH