IEST technical info used in SARS research


ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.—The Journal of the IEST, published for nearly 50 years by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST), included topical technical information in its recently published 2003 edition, which was used in ongoing research on the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic.

"The publication of a number of articles on filters and fine particles in this edition is very timely as we are trying to improve hospital wards for SARS patients in terms of air flow pattern control and filtration/disinfection of virus-laden aerosols," writes Dr. Yuguo Li, associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. "Engineering control of infectious respiratory diseases is a challenging area for the field of contamination control, which requires input from various disciplines."

Dr. Li works with the SARS-Busters, an expert group formed last May by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers to investigate and develop an air conditioning system suitable for SARS wards. The hospital care workers have been the most severely affected professionals during the SARS epidemics in Hong Kong and elsewhere, with 20 percent of those infected worldwide having been health care workers.

Overcrowding in the wards and poor ventilation systems have been suspected to be contributing factors. The effectiveness of the air conditioning systems in existing hospital SARS wards has been a great concern since the outbreak. A new SARS ward air conditioning design, studied in a full-scale SARS ward test room at the University of Hong Kong, was completed in late May.

The 2003 edition of the Journal also features an extensive section, Focus on ISO/TC 209, which contained in-depth information on the ISO Technical Committee 209 and their latest ISO Standards that provide international consensus on air cleanliness classification, design criteria, test methods, and operational procedures. The consensus is critical to the rapidly expanding global cleanroom market. IEST serves as Secretariat for ISO Technical Committee 209, which developed the standards as part of a series of documents to serve the needs of the worldwide contamination control community.