Sunday, January 20, 2008

ASHRAE Meeting off to great start

It's cold here in New York City as the annual winter meeting ASHRAE lives up to its name. With so many forums to attend, where do you begin.
This morning we attended an excellent seminar titled, "Hazardous Biological Agents in Hospital Air: When the HVAC Plant exacerbates rather than mitigates against HAI". Dr. Bob Scheir of Steril-Aire led the discussion on why Health Care Facilities pose unique challenges to HVAC engineers. The seminar was well attended reflecting the increased interest in airborne transmission of disease.
Tim Keane, a consulting engineer to Health Care clients, talked about the importance of maintenance programs, and how simple measurements can indicate if your system is fouled by microorganisms.
William McCoy, PhD of the life sciences company Phigenics, focused on Legionella in the Health Care setting. Dr. McCoy enlightened us on the unique relationship between protozoa and legionella. He also said that while our understanding of this pathogen has increased, much more research needs to be done.
The afternoon was spent in a lively technical meeting (TC 9.6-the subcommittee on Infectious Diseases). A spirited discussion ensued, led by Mike Keen. While much ground was covered, the meeting also highlighted how much more science is needed. But the good news is that the engineering community is starting to accept the idea that HVAC can prevent/cause nosocomial infection. The seminar was a good mix of experienced members and many younger engineers who are interested in this emerging topic.
That's all for tonight!

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