Bio-aerosols in indoor environment: Composition, health effects and analysis|
Srikanth, Padma; Sudharsanam, Suchithra & Steinberg, Ralf
Bio-aerosols are airborne particles that are living (bacteria, viruses and fungi) or originate from living organisms. Their presence in air is the result of dispersal from a site of colonization or growth. The health effects of bio-aerosols including infectious diseases, acute toxic effects, allergies and cancer coupled with the threat of bioterrorism and SARS have led to increased awareness on the importance of bio-aerosols. The evaluation of bio-aerosols includes use of variety of methods for sampling depending on the concentration of microorganisms expected. There have been problems in developing standard sampling methods, in proving a causal relationship and in establishing threshold limit values for exposures due to the complexity of composition of bio-aerosols, variations in human response to their exposure and difficulties in recovering microorganisms. Currently bio-aerosol monitoring in hospitals is carried out for epidemiological investigation of nosocomial infectious diseases, research into airborne microorganism spread and control, monitoring biohazardous procedures and use as a quality control measure. In India there is little awareness regarding the quality of indoor air, mould contamination in indoor environments, potential source for transmission of nosocomial infections in health care facilities. There is an urgent need to undertake study of indoor air, to generate baseline data and explore the link to nosocomial infections. This article is a review on composition, sources, modes of transmission, health effects and sampling methods used for evaluation of bio-aerosols, and also suggests control measures to reduce the loads of bio-aerosols.
Bio-aerosols, indoor air, health effects, monitoring nosocomial infections