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: At least four months to contain Ebola: Red Cross chief

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

Where Ebola battles are won

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Four hospitals that are home to advanced biocontainment facilities have become America's ground zero in the treatment of Ebola patients.

Depression tied to worse lumbar spine surgery outcomes

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Sp ...

Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark: WHO

9 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

10 hours ago

U.S. authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees ...

User comments : 0