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Droplet fate in indoor environments, or can we prevent the spread of infection?

Morawska, Lidia (2006) Droplet fate in indoor environments, or can we prevent the spread of infection? Indoor Air, 16(5), pp. 335-347.

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Abstract

When considering how people are infected and what can be done to prevent the infections, answers from many disciplines are sought: microbiology, epidemiology, medicine, engineering and physics. There are many pathways to infection spread, and among the most significant, from an epidemiological point of view, is airborne transport. Microorganisms can become airborne when droplets are generated during speech, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or atomisation of faeces during sewage removal. The fate of the droplets is governed by the physical principles of transport, with droplet size being the most important factor affecting their dispersion, deposition on surfaces and determining the survival of microorganisms within the droplets. In addition physical characteristics of the indoor environment as well as the design and operation of building ventilation systems are of critical importance. Do we understand the mechanisms of infection spread and can we quantify the droplet dynamics under various indoor conditions? Unfortunately no, as this aspect of infection spread has attracted surprisingly little scientific interest. However, investigations of numerous cases in which a large number of people were infected show how critical the physics of microorganism spread can be. This paper reviews the state of knowledge regarding mechanisms of droplet spread and solutions available to minimize the spread and prevent infections.

Impact and interest:

103 citations in Scopus
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95 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 5883
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Infectious droplets, droplet transport, infection spread, airborne virus particles
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2006.00432.x
ISSN: 0905-6947
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Sciences not elsewhere classified (040199)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Deposited On: 09 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:36

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