A new study identifies high concentrations of Covid in hospital air as a possible cause of infection among healthcare workers
Thousands of healthcare workers have lost their lives due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Italy alone, there were 60 deaths among nurses and, according to data published by the National Federation for the procurement of surgeons and dentists (FNOMCeO), 269 deaths among medical personnel.
The use of specific and appropriate medical devices, such as visors, professional FFP2 or FFP3 masks and other tools, did not actually protect the professional category most vulnerable to the virus. For this reason, healthcare professionals will benefit from the vaccine doses that will be distributed in the first phase of the vaccination campaign worldwide.
However, a significant number of infections among healthcare professionals have been the subject of analysis and reflection by the international scientific community. As a result, a recently published study appears to have identified high concentrations of the virus in the air in hospital corridors and bathrooms as the leading cause of infection among doctors and nurses.
Study published on “JAMA Network Open”
The study, the first to explain the significant number of infections among medical staff in hospitals, was conducted by a team of researchers of various nationalities. The team was led by scientists from Imperial College London and Nantes University Hospital Center, in collaboration with experts from INSERM of the Sorbonne University of Paris and the Infection Control Unit of Bichat Hospital – Claude Bernard and others alpine hospitals. All research groups were coordinated by the professor of pharmacy specializing in infectious diseases, Gabriel Birgand.
Covid, high concentration in the air in hospitals
The material collected in the hospitals was collected in various environments: dining rooms, wardrobes, rest areas, main entrances, hospital rooms – including intensive care rooms, bathrooms, etc.
A total of 893 samples were tested and 17.4% of cases showed a high percentage of Sars-Cov-2 viral RNA. However, only 9% of the samples showed a clear infectious load. In most cases, particles ready to contribute to the spread of coronavirus infection were found in materials collected in corridors (approximately 56.33%) or bathrooms (approximately 25.2%) while intensive treatment sites they were the most vulnerable to contamination compared to data on premises used for traditional care.
According to what emerged, 33% of public areas were affected by the virus, while the contamination rate was 19.2% in conference rooms, 12% in staff areas and 3.9% in changing rooms. . The analysis carried out internationally was then commented by the team of experts as follows: “In this systematic review, the air far and near COVID-19 patients was often contaminated with SARS CoV-2 RNA.
However, not many of these samples contained live viruses. The high viral load levels found in bathrooms, toilets, staff areas and public corridors suggest these areas should be carefully investigated.
Areas of hospitals most at risk of infection
Finally, the most dangerous places where, according to Birgand and other scientists in the study, people are most at risk of contracting the virus are the toilets: a high viral load in the faeces has been recorded. For this reason, the flush of a toilet causes the diffusion of aerosols loaded with viral particles that remain suspended in the air, especially in small bathrooms where ventilation is limited.
Other particularly dangerous areas are represented by the conference rooms, and especially the dining rooms, where it is customary to lower the mask to feed. This exponentially increases the risk of cross-transmission among medical staff members working in hospitals.
SHU EHGTM from Pureairion in hospitals
Cleaning the air in hospitals is essential to ensure that every patient can be in a clean and healthy environment in every hospital.
This goal is easier to achieve if equipment using the most advanced technology is used to clean the air. SHU air purification units are the right solution for sanitizing the air of a variety of hospital environments.