Room Ventilation and Airborne Disease Transmission

Current recommended ventilation rates for health care facilities are not always based on hard data, but on experience. In this joint ASHE-FGI monograph, Farhad Memarzadeh, PhD, PE, looks at research on hospitals, schools, aircraft, and other vehicles that is applicable to consideration of the effects of ventilation, in particular air changes per hour (ACH), on disease transmission.

The author notes that ACH is an important environmental control in preventing the transmission of infectious disease in public spaces, but stresses that ventilation rate is just one of many factors that affect airborne disease transmission. Considerably more research is needed—in conjunction with rigorous and sustained space-specific risk assessments—before standard ventilation recommendations are changed in any way.


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