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J R Soc Interface. 2009 Dec 6;6 Suppl 6:S715-26. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0311.focus. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Personalized ventilation as a control measure for airborne transmissible disease spread.

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  • 1Department of Building, School and Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


The protective role of personalized ventilation (PV) against plausible airborne transmissible disease was investigated using cough droplets released from a 'coughing machine' simulating the human cough at different distances (1, 1.75 and 3 m) from the PV user. Particle image velocimetry was used to characterize and visualize the interaction between the cough-generated multiphase flow and PV-induced flow in the inhalation zone of the thermal breathing manikin. A dose-response model for unsteady imperfectly mixed environment was used to estimate the reduction in infection risk of two common diseases that can be transmitted by airborne mode. PV was able to both reduce the peak aerosol concentration levels and shorten the exposure time at all the examined injection distances. PV could reduce the infection risks of two diseases, influenza A and tuberculosis, by between 27 and 65 per cent. The protection offered by PV is less effective at a distance of 1.75 m than the other distances, as shown in the risk assessment results, as the PV-generated flow was blown off by the cough-generated flow for the longest time. Results of this study demonstrate the ability of desktop PV to mitigate the infection risk of airborne transmissible disease.

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