Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Hospital Blues
11 August 2013

Hospital Blues

Isolation wards around the world are essential to protect against the release of highly contagious airborne pathogens such as influenza A (H1N1) or to shield patients with deficient immune systems. Using accurate scale model wards set up in water and blue food dye to demonstrate ‘air disturbance’, researchers can simulate the flow of potentially contaminated air when a health worker moves through the ward door. These movie frames (left to right) show a manikin entering (top two rows) or leaving (bottom two rows) a ward through a single hinged door. Contamination escaping from the ward to the outside space is illustrated in the first and third rows whereas the second and bottom rows show contamination flowing into the ward interior. Researchers compared single and double doors both sliding or with hinges. Future isolation ward designers take note, in these experiments single sliding doors were the most effective at containing contamination.

Written by Julie Webb

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