Andrew Carnegie discusses the importance of effective elimination of airborne pathogens in the healthcare setting and provides advice on key considerations for supplemental air cleaning.
The paper ‘Modelling aerosol transmission of SARS-COV-2 in a multi-room’ facility’1 lays out a clear case for using air filtration around SARS-COV-2 as an aerosol transmitted pathogen. However, there is a clear dichotomy between this well researched paper and current infection control practice. Scientifically, due to an experiment in 1956,2 only tuberculosis is currently deemed to be airborne. Richard Riley and William Wells took four years to prove their case to the scientific community and it is striking that, in 2020, we find ourselves no better informed while facing a pandemic with an airborne aspect to transmission.
While coronavirus may well be the current popular topic, there are of course many other diseases such as aspergillus, which are well known to be transported via our air. Thus, the purpose of this article is not to focus purely on SARS-COV-2, but air in general, with a review of what approaches can be taken to reduce risk. This will also include clear explanations of the various filtration standards and approaches being seen in the current market.
In many clinical areas, approaches to ventilation fall outside of direct clinical input. There are well constructed guidance documents known as healthcare technical memoranda (HTM) which deal with how this should be approached; a list of these is included as an annex to this article. For the purposes of this article, the most important of these is HTM 03-01, which deals with ventilation.3
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