Supplemental treatment of air in airborne infection isolation rooms using high-throughput in-room air decontamination units

Published:November 22, 2010DOI:


      Evidence has recently emerged indicating that in addition to large airborne droplets, fine aerosol particles can be an important mode of influenza transmission that may have been hitherto underestimated. Furthermore, recent performance studies evaluating airborne infection isolation (AII) rooms designed to house infectious patients have revealed major discrepancies between what is prescribed and what is actually measured.


      We conducted an experimental study to investigate the use of high-throughput in-room air decontamination units for supplemental protection against airborne contamination in areas that host infectious patients. The study included both intrinsic performance tests of the air-decontamination unit against biological aerosols of particular epidemiologic interest and field tests in a hospital AII room under different ventilation scenarios.


      The unit tested efficiently eradicated airborne H5N2 influenza and Mycobacterium bovis (a 4- to 5-log single-pass reduction) and, when implemented with a room extractor, reduced the peak contamination levels by a factor of 5, with decontamination rates at least 33% faster than those achieved with the extractor alone.


      High-throughput in-room air treatment units can provide supplemental control of airborne pathogen levels in patient isolation rooms.

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