Canada and Taiwan Issue New Directives to Stop Spread of SARS in Hospitals

EAST HILLS, N.Y. -- Controlling the spread of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has been a high priority ever since it hit the globe in an unprecedented and virulent whirlwind.

Several areas around the world that have been most affected by SARS are recommending new procedures to help prevent its spread, especially within hospitals. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario, Canada and the Taiwan Respiratory Society, (two areas of the world hardest hit by SARS), issued directives to hospitals to use high efficiency breathing filters for SARS patients to prevent contamination of respiratory equipment and prevent further cross contamination to patients and healthcare workers. They recommend the use of filters that are hydrophobic and demonstrate high levels of viral retention.

Pall Corporation's respiratory filters for anesthesia and respiratory care combine these specific requirements to provide an effective barrier against viral and bacterial contaminants. The Taiwan guidelines specifically point to the use of Pall filters.

Pall filters offer a hydrophobic media that is an absolute barrier to a liquid challenge such as respiratory secretions. It has been validated with a microbial rating of 99.999 percent using a monodispersed challenge, the most stringent in the industry, against a host of pathogens.

Hospitals are diligently working to isolate contamination because SARS is highly contagious, even through droplets in the air, and can be deadly. Protecting the equipment used in patient care is a critical factor of these infection control efforts.

"With the increasing threat of infectious diseases, such as SARS, breathing circuit filters that combine a reliable hydrophobic barrier and high levels of viral and bacterial retention offer the best option to protect therapeutic equipment and minimize exposure of patients and healthcare workers from infectious respiratory secretions," said Judy Angelbeck, senior vice president at Pall Medical.

Potentially contaminated fluids, such as tracheal secretions and saliva, can be a source of contamination into a breathing system. Pall's BB25A, Ultipor 100 and BB50T breathing system filters can protect ventilators, anesthesia machines and manual resuscitation bags from infectious patient secretions. These specially designed filters prevent liquid from passing into the ventilator circuit and isolate patients from microbiological contaminants. Studies have found that Pall filtration systems protect the environment from potential contamination and have a positive impact on the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia, one of the most commonly diagnosed nosocomial infections in hospitals.

SARS is the latest infectious disease that has prompted medical institutions to upgrade their contamination control procedures. Hospital environments can contain many types of pathogens -- viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi - - including some that are not usually harmful to a healthy person but could be lethal to patients with a compromised immune system. Hospitals are increasingly turning to filtration to help control the spread of these pathogens. Pall filtration technology can be found in hospitals around the world to help solve a growing number of contamination problems. Pall's family of 0.2um in-line IV filters is used for long-term infusion therapy to prevent bacteria and fungal contamination in intravenous solutions from reaching patients. The company's new AquaSafe Water Filters are used in hospitals, nursing homes and medical institutions to control contamination from bacteria, such as Legionella, and other pathogens in water used for showering, bathing and drinking.

Taiwan has the third highest number of SARS cases worldwide (687 cases, 81 fatalities), after mainland China and Hong Kong, and Canada has the highest number of SARS cases in North America (230 cases, 32 fatalities). Although the SARS epidemic is starting to level off in many countries, new cases still continue to be reported, including in the United States. Since the virus first surfaced, about 8,435 people have been infected worldwide with 789 deaths. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the SARS virus will likely reappear and cause deaths in the U.S. and Europe the next flu season. Many experts anticipate that unless a host of preventive infection control measures in and out of the hospital are strictly followed, SARS will continue to attack people worldwide at an increasing rate over the coming years.

Pall Corporation is a global leader in the rapidly growing field of filtration, separations and purification.

Source: Pall Corporation