Airborne infections in health care facilities were discussed. Historical beliefs about the transmission of nosocomial infections were summarized. Within hospitals, infective dusts and aerosols, infected or colonized patients, staff, or visitors, and ventilation or air conditioning are major sources of airborne nosocomial infections (ANI). Outside the hospital, soil, dusts from construction and renovation projects, decaying organic materials, and water from cooling towers are important sources of ANI. Airborne nosocomial pathogens derived from inanimate environments generally have been less virulent than those derived from animate sources. A significant number of viruses, bacteria, and fungi can spread by way of airborne mechanisms in hospitals. Viruses that can be spread through the air include rhinoviruses, influenza and parainfluenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenoviruses. Bacterial pathogens that can cause ANI originating from humans include the group-A streptococci, Staphylococcus-aureus, and Mycobacterium- tuberculosis. Bacteria that can be spread in infective aerosols in ventilation and air conditioning systems include Pseudomonads, Acinetobacter, Clostridia, and Legionellae. Fungal pathogens that can cause ANI include Aspergillus and Zygomyces species. The relative importance of airborne transmission of infection in the overall problem of nosocomial infection was discussed. Studies of nonepidemic nosocomial infection in hospitals have indicated that 10 to 24% of the infections were spread through the air. Epidemic outbreaks appear to account for 2 to 3.7% of all ANI.
We take your privacy seriously. You can review and change the way we collect information below.
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
Cookies used to make website functionality more relevant to you. These cookies perform functions like remembering presentation options or choices and, in some cases, delivery of web content that based on self-identified area of interests.
Cookies used to track the effectiveness of CDC public health campaigns through clickthrough data.
Cookies used to enable you to share pages and content that you find interesting on CDC.gov through third party social networking and other websites. These cookies may also be used for advertising purposes by these third parties.