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News Release

Addressing Exposure Risk for Infection in Healthcare Settings: A Prevention Strategy

28 February 2018 Sentrywell Technologies LLC

Healthcare workplaces are at risk of exposure to Emerging and re-emerging infections such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, SARS, Influenza, MERS-CoV, Tuberculosis, Antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These spectrum of airborne or droplet transmitted infectious diseases contribute to mortality, absenteeism among healthcare workers and a substantial increase in cost of healthcare.  Healthcare Workers performing cough generating procedures on known or suspected sources patients with infectious diseases are at very high exposure risk for infection transmission.

Dr. Deepthi Sharan Thatiparti at Sentrywell Technologies aims to address the exposure risks for infections in Healthcare Settings through applied research and prevention activities that are necessary to protect healthcare workers and the hospital environments. She is one of the world’s leading public health experts.  Over the course of her career, she has published cutting-edge research on infectious diseases prevention and control that include, "Assessing Effectiveness of Ceiling-Ventilated Mock Airborne Infection Isolation Room in Preventing Hospital-Acquired Influenza Transmission to Health Care Workers", "CFD study on the influence of an alternate ventilation configuration on the possible flow path of infectious cough aerosols in a mock Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms" and “Risk Assessment of Infectious-Bioaerosol exposures to hospital Health-Care Workers. Development and Testing of innovative Medical Countermeasures in Isolation rooms.”

Recently, Dr. Thatiparti conducted Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modeling and Simulation study, a novel approach to confront Emerging Infections in healthcare settings.  Dr. Thatiparti studied a modeled AIIR ventilation arrangement similar to that of a traditional AIIR observed in existing hospitals and the ventilation rate for the modeled AIIR was 12 ACH (Air changes per hour). The advanced 3D atmospheric flow and dispersion modeling systems evaluated the airborne infection dispersal over time using a multi-phase flow simulation approach.  The findings suggest that the existing AIIRs are not completely effective in protecting healthcare workers from exposure risk for infections while treating highly contagious patients.

To improve the existing AIIRs, Dr. Thatiparti proposed a substitute ventilation configuration of Isolation Rooms for infection control.  This substitute AIIR ventilation configuration interchanges the Square supply and Main Exhaust ventilation locations in traditional AIIR.  The rationale is to place the exhaust ventilation closer to the infectious source (patient) to quickly remove the infectious virus from the room.  However, this configuration also proved not effective in protecting healthcare workers working in Isolation rooms of a hospital.  A novel Direct-control ventilation expedient intervention technique in the modeled AIIR studied in this article has the room ceiling exhaust replaced with vented patient headboard mantle and canopy arrangement, while the supply vents locations remains the same as previous configuration.  The findings suggest that this expedient intervention technique is efficient in preventing exposures risk for Infection in Healthcare Settings.

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