The survival of Chlamydia pneumoniae in aerosols was investigated by using a chamber with a capacity of 114.5 liters. We injected 5 x 10(7) inclusion-forming units (IFU) of C. pneumoniae in aerosols with a droplet size of 3 to 5 microns. Samples were taken after 30 s and every 1 min thereafter. The survival of C. pneumoniae was measured at four temperatures (8.5, 15, 25, and 35 degrees C) and at three different relative humidities (RH) of 5, 50, and 95% for each temperature. The survival rates of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Chlamydia trachomatis LGV2, and cytomegalovirus were also determined at 25 degrees C and 95% RH and compared with that of C. pneumoniae. At the mentioned temperatures and RH, a rapid decrease of C. pneumoniae IFU was observed in the first 30 s. After this the decrease in the number of IFU was more gradual. The survival of C. pneumoniae in aerosols were optimal at 15 to 25 degrees C and 95% RH; it was good compared with those of other microorganisms. A lower death rate was observed only in S. faecalis. In C. trachomatis, the death rate during the first 30 s was higher than that in C. pneumoniae (85 and 53.3%, respectively). After the first 30 s, the death rates in the two organisms were identical. It was concluded that transmission of C. pneumoniae via aerosols was possible. There is probably a direct transmission from person to person, taking into account the relatively short survival period of C. pneumoniae in aerosols.