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Biosecur Bioterror. 2011 Sep;9(3):213-24. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2010.0064. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

The NYC native air sampling pilot project: using HVAC filter data for urban biological incident characterization.

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  • 1Bureau of Communicable Diseases, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2 Gotham Center, 28th Street, Queens, NY 11101-4132, USA. jackelsb@health.nyc.gov

Abstract

Native air sampling (NAS) is distinguished from dedicated air sampling (DAS) devices (eg, BioWatch) that are deployed to detect aerosol disseminations of biological threat agents. NAS uses filter samples from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial properties for environmental sampling after DAS detection of biological threat agent incidents. It represents an untapped, scientifically sound, efficient, widely distributed, and comparably inexpensive resource for postevent environmental sampling. Calculations predict that postevent NAS would be more efficient than environmental surface sampling by orders of magnitude. HVAC filter samples could be collected from pre-identified surrounding NAS facilities to corroborate the DAS alarm and delineate the path taken by the bioaerosol plume. The New York City (NYC) Native Air Sampling Pilot Project explored whether native air sampling would be acceptable to private sector stakeholders and could be implemented successfully in NYC. Building trade associations facilitated outreach to and discussions with property owners and managers, who expedited contact with building managers of candidate NAS properties that they managed or owned. Nominal NAS building requirements were determined; procedures to identify and evaluate candidate NAS facilities were developed; data collection tools and other resources were designed and used to expedite candidate NAS building selection and evaluation in Manhattan; and exemplar environmental sampling playbooks for emergency responders were completed. In this sample, modern buildings with single or few corporate tenants were the best NAS candidate facilities. The Pilot Project successfully demonstrated that in one urban setting a native air sampling strategy could be implemented with effective public-private collaboration.

PMID:
21793731
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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