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Microbiological quality of air in university lecture theatres and the potential application of pulsed ultra violet light disinfection

MacLean, M. and Wang, T. and Anderson, J.G. and MacGregor, S.J. and Rowan, N.J. (2003) Microbiological quality of air in university lecture theatres and the potential application of pulsed ultra violet light disinfection. In: Society for General Microbiology – 152nd Meeting – –, 2003-04-07 - 2003-04-11.

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Abstract

Airborne transmission of microorganisms is recognised as being a significant source of infection, with potentially fatal illnesses such as tuberculosis and meningitis spread via this route. Consequently, more research is required in this area to both establish the physical mechanisms of airborne transmission in specific environments and develop effective means of achieving air disinfection. The present study is concerned with an investigation of air quality in university lecture theatres. Due to high student numbers and absence of air quality control within lecture rooms, there is potential for the build-up of airborne contamination and therefore cross-infection. In this study a SAS-Super180 sampler was used to take microbial and fungal counts before, during and after a 1hour lecture in order to identify the variation in airborne contamination levels that occur, with results demonstrating a significant increase in airborne populations due to the presence of large congregations. Various environmental parameters were also monitored to examine their effect on the microbial air load. Also, a pulsed UVlight system developed by the EPAST group (which has had success in surface and liquid applications) was used to disinfect the air, and results highlight the effectiveness of the PUV system for the inactivation of airborne microorganisms