ATLANTA - Speculation about an influenza pandemic and the current avian flu outbreak has created growing interest in the need to control indoor environmental factors that affect transmission of infectious diseases.

"Viruses in emerging infectious diseases might have jumped from animals (or birds) to humans, but it is mostly in buildings that these viruses could easily spread among us," Hua Qian, University of Hong Kong, said. "The impact of ventilation on infectious diseases transmission and the importance of engineers in designing and installing sound ventilation systems to prevent this spread must be an integral part of the discussion."

Qian will speak on airborne/droplet transmission of infectious diseases and effectiveness of isolation room ventilation at ASHRAE's 2006 Annual Meeting, June 24-28, Quebec City.

The seminar, "Preparing for the Next Pandemic: Controlling Transmission of Infectious Diseases in Hospitals," takes place from 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Monday, June 26. It is sponsored by ASHRAE's technical committee on health care facilities.

Recent outbreaks such as the SARS outbreak in 2003 show that transmission of infectious diseases occurs prevalently in hospitals, according to Michael Keen, P.Eng., chair of the seminar.

The seminar presents theories and experimental results of transmission of airborne and droplet infectious diseases. Applications for effective design of hospital spaces, ventilation systems and environmental conditions are reviewed, including isolation rooms, surgical suites and entire isolation care facilities.

Other topics and speakers are:

  • "Full-Scale Experimental Apparatus to Study MDR-TB Transmission," Sidney Parsons, CSIR Building & Construction Technology, Silverlakes, Gauteng, South Africa;

  • "Surgical Isolation Suites," Carl Schultz, P.E., URS Corp., Columbus, Ohio;

  • "Hospital Renovation for SARS: Some Experience from Taiwan," Yie-Zu Robert Hu, Ph.D., Industrial Technology Research Institute, Chutung, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

    For more information or to register, visit

    Publication date: 05/29/2006