March 24 is World TB Day, and it commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB). The theme of World TB Day 2016 is “Unite to End TB.”
Together with the CDC and its domestic and international partners, including the National TB Controllers Association, Stop TB USA, and the Stop TB Partnership, Triatek is putting a focus on World TB Day in an effort to build public awareness and help eliminate this deadly disease.
At the bottom of this post are some helpful resources from the CDC and ASHRAE on preventing the spread of TB in relation to HVAC systems.
Quick Facts About TB:
- TB causes nearly 1.5 million deaths a year worldwide
- TB usually attacks the lungs, but the bacteria can attack any part of the body
- If not treated properly, TB can be fatal
- TB of the lungs is spread through the air from one person to another when someone coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, and another person inhales the airborne bacteria
- Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick; two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease
- Symptoms include: severe coughing, pain in the chest, coughing up blood, weight loss, chills, fever, and night sweats
- TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs, usually for 6 to 9 months
- Read more about TB from the CDC
How Does Triatek Help Prevent the Spread of TB?
The CDC recommends a multi-modal approach to TB infection control including:
- Administrative controls
- Environmental controls
- Use of respiratory protective equipment
Triatek is involved in the environmental control (HVAC systems) aspect of TB prevention. HVAC systems help prevent airborne diseases from spreading through:
- Dilution (ventilation)
- Air filtration
- Exposure time (air changes and pressure differentials)
- Airflow patterns
ASHRAE recommends that airborne infection isolation (AII) patient rooms are negative pressure rooms with a minimum of 12 air changes per hour.*
Triatek products, including our Venturi air valves and negative pressure room controllers, are on the front lines of preventing the spread of TB within health care facilities and municipal buildings. A prime example is the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (NOCC) located in Youngstown, Ohio.
Case Study Overview: Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
TB can be particularly problematic within prison systems where individuals from diverse backgrounds are living within confined environments where airborne diseases can spread quickly.
To combat this, the NOCC medical staff routinely tests inmates for TB, and also maintains two negative pressure cells with FMS-1655 Room Pressure Controllers. These cells allow staff to immediately quarantine an inmate, protecting the rest of the prison population and staff. The on-site negative pressure isolation cells also allow for a more cost-effective and timely treatment of the patient, as administrators do not have to arrange transports to a local hospital.
The measures the NOCC are taking to prevent TB within its prison population are clearly working. Maureen Sanzenbacher, RN, the resident Infectious Disease Nurse at NOCC said:
“In my nine years of [working in] corrections, I have only had two or three confirmed cases of Tuberculosis that had to be quarantined in a negative air pressure cell. Every inmate is tested for TB on admission and annually. Those inmates that test positive have a CXR [chest x-ray] on admission and annually. Tuberculosis is closely monitored in the correctional setting.”
TB is a dangerously contagious disease, but with vigilance and the right technology, we can continue to work together to end this disease in the US and around the world.
Do you need a negative pressure isolation room controller installed in your facility to help prevent the spread of airborne diseases? Contact us!
Resources from the CDC and ASHRAE
*Koenigshofer, Dan, P.E., John Murphy, and Walter Grondzik, P.E., eds. HVAC Design Manual for Hospitals and Clinics (2nd Edition). Atlanta: ASHRAE Publications / American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, 2013. Print.