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Room ventilation and the risk of airborne infection transmission in three health care settings within a large teaching hospital

Knibbs, Luke D., Morawska, Lidia, Bell, Scott C., & Grzybowski, Piotr (2011) Room ventilation and the risk of airborne infection transmission in three health care settings within a large teaching hospital. American Journal of Infection Control, 39(10), pp. 866-872.

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Abstract

Background: Room ventilation is a key determinant of airborne disease transmission. Despite this, ventilation guidelines in hospitals are not founded on robust scientific evidence related to prevention of airborne transmission.

Methods: We sought to assess the effect of ventilation rates on influenza, tuberculosis (TB) and rhinovirus infection risk within three distinct rooms in a major urban hospital; a Lung Function Laboratory, Emergency Department (ED) Negative-pressure Isolation Room and an Outpatient Consultation Room were investigated. Air exchange rate measurements were performed in each room using CO2 as a tracer. Gammaitoni and Nucci’s model was employed to estimate infection risk.

Results: Current outdoor air exchange rates in the Lung Function Laboratory and ED Isolation Room limited infection risks to between 0.1 and 3.6%. Influenza risk for individuals entering an Outpatient Consultation Room after an infectious individual departed ranged from 3.6 to 20.7%, depending on the duration for which each person occupied the room.

Conclusions: Given the absence of definitive ventilation guidelines for hospitals, air exchange measurements combined with modelling afford a useful means of assessing, on a case-by-case basis, the suitability of room ventilation at preventing airborne disease transmission.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
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6 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 47040
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Infection control, Air exchange, Influenza, Rhinovirus, Tuberculosis
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.02.014
ISSN: 0196-6553
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Infectious Diseases (110309)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > Physics
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in <American Journal of Infection Control>. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in American Journal of Infection Control, [in press (2011)].
Deposited On: 17 Nov 2011 09:12
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2012 21:11

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