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TOILET PLUME BIOAEROSOLS IN HEALTHCARE AND HOSPITALITY SETTINGS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

  • Elizabeth N. Paddy
    Correspondence
    Corresponding Author: Elizabeth N. Paddy1, School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, LE11 3TU
    Affiliations
    School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
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  • Oluwasola O.D. Afolabi
    Affiliations
    School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
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  • M. Sohail
    Affiliations
    School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
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      Highlights

      • Toilet plume bioaerosols in healthcare and hospitality setting are uncharacterised.
      • The bioaerosols pose unquantified contact transmission and airborne transmission risks.
      • These risks increase the exposure to enteric and airborne pathogens.
      • There is a lack of national and international toilet plume bioaerosol sampling and exposure standards.
      • A quantitative risk assessment and related research is needed to investigate these transmission risks.

      ABSTRACT

      Background

      The spread of some respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections has been linked to the exposure to infectious bioaerosols released after toilet flushing. This represents a health hazard and infection risk for immunocompromised patients, health workers and the public, particularly within the healthcare and hospitality settings. This systematic review provides current knowledge and identifies gaps in the evidence regarding toilet plume bioaerosols and the potential contributing role in spreading infections in healthcare and hospitality settings.

      Methods

      The PRISMA guidelines were used. Searches were run in PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar from 1950 to 30th June 2021. Searches of global and regional reports and updates from relevant international and governmental organisations were also conducted.

      Results and Conclusion

      The search yielded 712 results, and 37 studies were finally selected for this review. There is a lack of national and international bioaerosol sampling and exposure standards for healthcare and hospitality settings. Toilet plume bioaerosols are complex in nature, thus, measured bioaerosol concentrations in these settings depend on many variables and may differ for every pathogen responsible for a particular infectious disease. The contact and airborne transmission risks posed by toilet plume bioaerosols also remain unquantified. They are an important pathway that can increase the exposure to enteric and airborne pathogens. Hence, quantitative risk assessment and related research are needed to investigate these transmission risks.

      Keywords

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