Improving performance of HVAC systems to reduce exposure to aerosolized infectious agents in buildings; Recommendations to reduce risks posed by biological attacks
The prospect of biological attacks is a growing strategic threat. Covert aerosol attacks inside a building are of particular concern. In the summer of 2005, the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center convened a Working Group to determine what steps could be taken to reduce the risk of exposure of building occupants after an aerosol release of a biological weapon. The Working Group was composed of subject matter experts in air filtration, building ventilation and pressurization, air conditioning and air distribution, biosecurity, building design and operation, building decontamination and restoration, economics, medicine, public health, and public policy. The group focused on functions of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in commercial or public buildings that could reduce the risk of exposure to deleterious aerosols following biological attacks. The Working Group's recommendations for building owners are based on the use of currently available, off-the-shelf technologies. These recommendations are modest in expense and could be implemented immediately. It is also the Working Group's judgment that the commitment and stewardship of a lead government agency is essential to secure the necessary financial and human resources and to plan and build a comprehensive, effective program to reduce exposure to aerosolized infectious agents in buildings.