MedAir, Inc. Air Purification Systems as a Defense against Bioterrorism
1. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Infection Control Service: Policies and Procedures Guide, April 30, 2001, specifies the use of its 8 patient isolation rooms with MedAir equipment for isolation of patients suspected to be infected with highly transmissible or epidemiologically important pathogens. For individuals exposed to Tuberculosis or, in the case of a bioterrorism event, smallpox, airborne precautions requiring isolation in MedAir isolation rooms are to be taken.
2. The Bioterrorism Readiness Plan: A Template for Healthcare Facilities, April 13, 1999, prepared by the APIC Bioterrorism Task Force and the CDC Hospital Infections Program Bioterrorism Working Group, recommends that hospitals place patients suspected of exposure to smallpox in airborne infection isolation rooms. Isolation rooms with MedAir equipment meet or exceed the requirements of air ventilation and negative pressure.
3. The CDC Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines (Version 3.0), September 23, 2002, recommends that patients suspected of smallpox exposure be placed in hospitals where non-smallpox patients are present in the event that quarantine facilities have not been made available. Hospitals must have negative pressure isolation rooms that exhaust air externally away from air intakes or passersby. It is recommended that exhausted air pass through a filter with at least 95% efficiency based on the DOP test method. Isolation rooms with MedAir equipment exceed these requirements.
4. CDC Division of Healthcare Quality staff have stated that an airborne smallpox virion can survive for a long period of time after being expelled perhaps even for weeks or months. They can be released not only in droplet form, but also as particles that emanate from healing lesions. Such smallpox virions may be embedded in protein matrices, which tend to make them sturdier, as opposed to pure virions created in a laboratory that are unlikely to survive for an extended period of time. HEPA filters can be effective at capturing smallpox virions exhausted from an isolation room and UV irradiation can effectively kill the pathogen if exposed for more than just a few seconds. MedAir equipment combines HEPA filtration and UV irradiation technologies, making it an ideally-suited means to isolating patients exposed to smallpox.