Effectiveness of Infection Control Barriers for Construction in Healthcare



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Aspergillosis spores enter buildings during renovation or construction. Recent research shows a causal link between new construction in existing healthcare facilities and increased infection rates in at risk patients. Aspergillosis is a dangerous pathogen that can lead to death, especially in immune suppressed patients, who are most at risk. Not all patients have the same risk level of infection, but infection control is an important step in the construction process, as the Aspergillosis spores are transmitted on dust particles, to reduce the risk of fatal infections. Infection control barriers have been largely adopted for new hospital construction at an existing facility to reduce the incidence of infections caused by construction dust borne pathogens. Previous research on construction barriers at TAMU showed that a properly placed plastic sheet barrier stopped all particle movement for a pressure differential of 105 kiloPascals measured over twenty-four hours. It is not possible to maintain a sealed barrier during all construction, although this is the most effective means of stopping dust transmission intra-building, doors are often needed to access the construction site safely. This study extends the work on the sealed barrier to introduce a small door into the sealed barrier. The door area is five percent of the wall area. The purpose of the experiment is to study the rate of particle movement, size range of one to ten microns, through the barrier with a door present under a defined set of standard air flow conditions. The door will be opened and closed at different times during the experimental period. No dust could be observed to have moved through the doorway under the present study conditions. The results show that it is not a sufficient condition to assume that measuring air exchange rates is sufficient to determine the rate of dust movement; it appears to have an air surface velocity dependence that was not studied in this research. Future research is recommended to include the air velocity movement as a variable in the study.