Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Controlling Tuberculosis in an Open Society

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Controlling Tuberculosis in an Open Society

Article excerpt

During a session held at the annual meeting of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), an international panel of experts discussed ways of coping with the world's most lethal and infectious disease. Tuberculosis (TB) kills approximately 2.5 million people each year. The panel found that TB control requires the cooperative efforts of the medical and engineering communities, including extensive research into the effects of various technologies on TB transmission.

Four panelists gave presentations:

* Edward A. Nardell, M.D., chief of pulmonary medicine at Cambridge Hospital and professor of TB prevention and control at Harvard Medical School, discussed the disinfection of air as a means of controlling transmission of the virus. One such method is upper-room ultraviolet (UV) germicidal irradiation, which uses short-wavelength (254-nanometer) UV radiation to kill airborne infectious agents. Other engineering control methods include increased ventilation, directional air flow, air filtration, and particulate respirators.

* Melvin W. First, Sc.D., emeritus professor of environmental health engineering at Harvard School of Public Health, described the engineering dimensions of TB control in a New York City homeless shelter project. A study of the project is attempting to correlate protection from transmission of TB with specific UV doses used in upper-room UV irradiation and to develop an engineering guidance manual for designing applications of upper-room UV effective in indoor environments of all types. …

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