Maintaining indoor air quality matters


5th October 2023


Air quality is a critical component of infection prevention and control and can influence overall quality of care, as well as patient, resident, staff and visitor health and comfort.

In poorly ventilated spaces, infectious pathogens can survive in the air for much longer.

Pathogens, particulates and odours linger in poorly ventilated spaces and breathing, talking and coughing can spread pathogens (such as influenza and COVID-19) via the generation of aerosols or droplets. These tiny particles can be released by symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals[1].

Poor ventilation has also been shown to lead to the settling of potentially harmful pathogens (e.g. MRSA, S. aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii) on surfaces which may lead to transmission of HAI causing pathogens via direct and indirect contact.

There is growing evidence to support the use of portable HEPA filters in healthcare where poor air quality may be an issue. HEPA 14 filters can remove 99.995% of airborne particles down to 0.3 micrometres, which is small enough to trap individual bacteria, fungi and viral aerosols. Additionally, reductions in the rates of surface settling of pathogens has been proven to occur with the implementation of HEPA 14 air purifiers[2].

1. De Oliveira PM, Mesquita LCC, Gkantonas S, Giusti A, Mastorakos E. Evolution of spray and aerosol from respiratory releases: Theoretical estimates for insight on viral transmission. Proc R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2021;477(2245). doi:10.1098/rspa.2020.0584

2. Crawford C, Vanoli E, Decorde B, et al. Modeling of aerosol transmission of airborne pathogens in ICU rooms of COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure. Scientific Reports. 2021;11(1):1-12. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-91265-5



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