The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Quantifying the reduction of airborne infectious viral load using a ventilated patient hood


  • Lee, L.Y.Y.
  • Landry, S.A.
  • Jamriska, M.
  • Subedi, D.
  • Joosten, S.A.
  • Barr, J.J.
  • Brown, R.
  • Kevin, K.
  • Schofield, R.
  • Monty, J.
  • Subbarao, K.
  • McGain, F.


Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 136, 2023-06-30

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Background Healthcare workers treating SARS-CoV-2 patients are at risk of infection by respiratory exposure to patient-emitted, virus-laden aerosols. Source control devices such as ventilated patient isolation hoods have been shown to limit the dissemination of non-infectious airborne particles in laboratory tests, but data on their performance in mitigating the airborne transmission risk of infectious viruses are lacking. Aim We used an infectious airborne virus to quantify the ability of a ventilated hood to reduce infectious virus exposure in indoor environments. Methods We nebulized 109 plaque forming units (pfu) of bacteriophage PhiX174 virus into a ∼30-m3 room when the hood was active or inactive. The airborne concentration of infectious virus was measured by BioSpot-VIVAS and settle plates using plaque assay quantification on the bacterial host Escherichia coli C. The airborne particle number concentration (PNC) was also monitored continuously using an optical particle sizer. Findings The median airborne viral concentration in the room reached 1.41 × 105 pfu/m3 with the hood inactive. When active, the hood reduced infectious virus concentration in air samples by 374-fold. The deposition of infectious virus on the surface of settle plates was reduced by 87-fold. This was associated with a 109-fold reduction in total airborne particle number escape rate. Conclusion A personal ventilation hood significantly reduced airborne particle escape, considerably lowering infectious virus contamination in an indoor environment. Our findings support the further development of source control devices to mitigate nosocomial infection risk among healthcare workers exposed to airborne viruses in clinical settings.