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Infection Control

Infection control study focuses on airborne transmission

January 10, 2011
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WASHINGTON — With advanced equipment that includes a massive mirror and a high-speed camera, scientists are trying to figure out how airborne transmission of influenza viruses occurs, according to Reuters.
In the $833,000 study funded by the National Medical Research Council of Singapore, the scientists observe the aerosol spray produced by a cough or sneeze across the mirror and evaluate interventions such as coughing into a loosely clenched fist, a tissue and different types of face masks to see how effective they are in containing airflows, the story stated.
Julian Tang, a virologist and consultant with Singapore''s National University Hospital, and leader of the study, said: "It''s really to inform infection control teams, because there is controversy now about which pathogens, e.g. flu, are airborne and if so, how significant this route is compared to others, such as direct contact."
From resulting images seen so far, whistling and laughing appear to spread infection very effectively, the story noted.
With better knowledge of airflows, the scientists hope to make improved recommendations for infection control, such as how far apart to place hospital beds and quarantine measures to be taken in a place found to be housing a person with an airborne infection, the story added.
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