01/02/2003 Biology Medicine
DOI: 10.1177/1420326X03012001002 SemanticScholar ID: 84555422 MAG: 1998399461

The Airborne Transmission of Infection in Hospital Buildings: Fact or Fiction?

Publication Summary

Airborne transmission is known to be the route of infection for diseases such as tuberculosis and aspergillosis. It has also been implicated in nosocomial outbreaks of MRSA, Acinetobacter spp. and Pseudomonas spp. Despite this there is much scepticism about the role that airborne transmission plays in nosocomial outbreaks. This paper investigates the airborne spread of infection in hospital buildings, and evaluates the extent to which it is a problem. It is concluded that although contact-spread is the principle route of transmission for most infections, the contribution of airborne micro-organisms to the spread of infection is likely to be greater than is currently recognised. This is partly because many airborne micro-organisms remain viable while being non-culturable, with the result that they are not detected, and also because some infections arising from contact transmission involve the airborne transportation of micro-organisms onto inanimate surfaces.

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