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      Factors involved in the aerosol transmission of infection and control of ventilation in healthcare premises

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          Summary

          The epidemics of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 highlighted both short- and long-range transmission routes, i.e. between infected patients and healthcare workers, and between distant locations. With other infections such as tuberculosis, measles and chickenpox, the concept of aerosol transmission is so well accepted that isolation of such patients is the norm. With current concerns about a possible approaching influenza pandemic, the control of transmission via infectious air has become more important. Therefore, the aim of this review is to describe the factors involved in: (1) the generation of an infectious aerosol, (2) the transmission of infectious droplets or droplet nuclei from this aerosol, and (3) the potential for inhalation of such droplets or droplet nuclei by a susceptible host. On this basis, recommendations are made to improve the control of aerosol-transmitted infections in hospitals as well as in the design and construction of future isolation facilities.

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          Most cited references 111

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          Transmissibility of 1918 pandemic influenza

          The 1918 influenza pandemic killed 20–40 million people worldwide 1 , and is seen as a worst-case scenario for pandemic planning. Like other pandemic influenza strains, the 1918 A/H1N1 strain spread extremely rapidly. A measure of transmissibility and of the stringency of control measures required to stop an epidemic is the reproductive number, which is the number of secondary cases produced by each primary case 2 . Here we obtained an estimate of the reproductive number for 1918 influenza by fitting a deterministic SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered) model to pneumonia and influenza death epidemic curves from 45 US cities: the median value is less than three. The estimated proportion of the population with A/H1N1 immunity before September 1918 implies a median basic reproductive number of less than four. These results strongly suggest that the reproductive number for 1918 pandemic influenza is not large relative to many other infectious diseases 2 . In theory, a similar novel influenza subtype could be controlled. But because influenza is frequently transmitted before a specific diagnosis is possible and there is a dearth of global antiviral and vaccine stores, aggressive transmission reducing measures will probably be required. Supplementary information The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nature03063) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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            An outbreak of influenza aboard a commercial airliner.

            A jet airliner with 54 persons aboard was delayed on the ground for three hours because of engine failure during a takeoff attempt. Most passengers stayed on the airplane during the delay. Within 72 hours, 72 per cent of the passengers became ill with symptoms of cough, fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat and myalgia. One passenger, the apparent index case, was ill on the airplane, and the clinical attack rate among the others varied with the amount of time spent aboard. Virus antigenically similar to A/Texas/1/77(H3N2) was isolated from 8 of 31 passengers cultured, and 20 of 22 ill persons tested had serologic evidence of infection with this virus. The airplane ventilation system was inoperative during the delay and this may account for the high attack rate.
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              Survival of influenza viruses on environmental surfaces.

              To investigate the transmission of influenza viruses via hands and environmental surfaces, the survival of laboratory-grown influenza A and influenza B viruses on various surfaces was studied. Both influenza A and B viruses survived for 24-48 hr on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic but survived for less than 8-12 hr on cloth, paper, and tissues. Measurable quantities of influenza A virus were transferred from stainless steel surfaces to hands for 24 hr and from tissues to hands for up to 15 min. Virus survived on hands for up to 5 min after transfer from the environmental surfaces. These observations suggest that the transmission of virus from donors who are shedding large amounts could occur for 2-8 hr via stainless steel surfaces and for a few minutes via paper tissues. Thus, under conditions of heavy environmental contamination, the transmission of influenza virus via fomites may be possible.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Hosp Infect
                J. Hosp. Infect
                The Journal of Hospital Infection
                The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                0195-6701
                1532-2939
                17 August 2006
                October 2006
                17 August 2006
                : 64
                : 2
                : 100-114
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China
                [b ]Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China
                [c ]Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, London, UK
                [d ]School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
                [e ]Capital Investment and Planning, University College London Hospitals, London, UK
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. Address: Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China. Tel.: +852 2632 3333; fax: +852 2647 3227. jwtang49@ 123456hotmail.com
                Article
                S0195-6701(06)00286-6
                10.1016/j.jhin.2006.05.022
                7114857
                16916564
                Copyright © 2006 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                Categories
                Article

                Infectious disease & Microbiology

                aerosol, transmission, sars, influenza, droplets, infection, control

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