Monday, March 05, 2007

Fresh Air Fights Infection and - it's Free

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This Should Do


The Trick...



Lima, Peru - 2007 Conference on Airborne Disease

The stage is set - literally. Graphs, charts, posters - and, of course, the 24-foot-tall, ambient light reducing, image enhancing SX-1750 projection system. It's the perfect environment to discuss the, uhm, environment most suitable for restricting the spread of tuberculosis and other airborne illnesses.

The results of your study will impact medical systems worldwide. As nations struggle to prepare for potential pandemics, ready to pour hundreds of millions into the latest technologies, they eagerly await word of the latest developments.

You step to the microphone, give the customary introductions and dive in. The SX-1750 whirs madly as you quickly display images detailing the methods and findings of your research:

-Ventilation measurements via carbon dioxide tracer gas technique.

-368 combined experiments.

-Infection risk estimates per Wells-Riley model of airborne infection.

The crowd listens intently as you outline the study. Then, with a final click of the remote, you display the study's startling conclusion:

-Open the Windows...

It is, in fact, quite startling. It seems the modern, high-tech solutions to combating airborne disease are no match for the simple architectural designs of the 1950s.

Current solutions embrace an ideology of containment. Isolation rooms are engineered to provide "negative pressure," whereby mechanical ventilation systems ensure that air flows into the room when the door is opened. This ensures that contaminated air does not escape. But...

Researchers found the natural ventilation of 1940s and 1950s hospitals is superior. Those facilities, with the old style high ceilings and large windows typical of the era, provide greater airflow than the mechanically ventilated rooms.

The result is a lower rate of transmission of infectious disease.

Researchers estimate 39% of susceptible people would become infected with TB after exposure in the mechanically ventilated isolation rooms. But, in the fresh-air-is-fabulous rooms, the infection rate following exposure is estimated at 11% - for the non-math inclined, that is a, uhm - well, it's really a lot better.

The crowd erupts in shouts and applause at the conclusion. Outside a passerby, annoyed by the commotion, shouts, "Hey - close the dang windows!" Ah - if he only knew...

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read the entire report, see this from the Public Library of Science.

Photo courtesy of : Novapages

1 Comments:

Blogger sylvia c. said...

I love it!

And I love open windows.

Oh, and an entirely open sunroom lets in great air, too...


Sylvia C.

9:46 AM  

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