Hong Kong hospital reports possible airborne influenza transmission

Nov 22, 2010

Direct contact and droplets are the primary ways influenza spreads. Under certain conditions, however, aerosol transmission is possible. In a study published in the current issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, available online, the authors examined such an outbreak in their own hospital in Hong Kong.

On April 4, 2008, seven inpatients in the hospital's general medical ward developed fever and . Ultimately, nine inpatients exhibited influenza-like symptoms and tested positive for A. The cause of the outbreak was believed to be an influenza patient who was admitted on March 27. He received a form of non-invasive ventilation on March 31, and was then moved to the after 16 hours. During that time, he was located right beside the outflow jet of an air purifier, which created an unopposed air current across the ward.

"We showed that infectious aerosols generated by a respiratory device applied to an influenza patient might have been blown across the hospital ward by an imbalanced indoor airflow, causing a major nosocomial outbreak," said study author Nelson Lee, MD, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "The spatial distribution of affected patients was highly consistent with an aerosol mode of transmission, as opposed to that expected from droplet transmission.

"Suitable personal protective equipment, including the use of N95 respirators, will need to be considered when aerosol-generating procedures are performed on influenza patients," Dr. Lee added. "Avoiding such procedures in open wards and improving ventilation design in health care facilities may also help to reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission of influenza."

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

More information: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/656743

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hong Kong bird flu patient improves

Nov 22, 2010

Hong Kong health authorities said a woman who contracted bird flu was moved from intensive care Monday after her condition improved, as fears of an outbreak linked to the case eased.

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

21 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

21 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.