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November 1939

AIR CONTAMINATION AND AIR STERILIZATION

Author Affiliations

TORONTO, CANADA; SCHENECTADY, N. Y.; TORONTO, CANADA
Dr. Robertson, M. Elizabeth Doyle and Dr. Tisdall are associated with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, and the Hospital for Sick Children; Dr. Koller, with the Research Laboratory of the General Electric Company, and Francis S. Ward, with the Air Conditioning Division of the Canadian General Electric Company, Ltd.

Am J Dis Child. 1939;58(5):1023-1038. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1939.01990100105010
Abstract

If secondary infections could be avoided in hospital wards, both the patients and the hospital would be greatly benefited. Until a few years ago, these infections were thought to be carried either by the attendants' hands or by droplets coughed out by the patients. Such droplets travel only a few feet, and sufficient space between the beds would control this mode of spread. However, the work of W. F. Wells and M. W. Wells1 has shown that bacteria in very small particles, or "nuclei," can remain suspended in the air for two or three days, and this strongly suggests that air-borne bacteria may play a part in the spread of disease in the wards.

That ultraviolet lamps can be used to kill air-borne bacteria has been demonstrated by several investigators. For example, Hart2 reported that when he operated under a battery of eight tubular ultraviolet lamps, the wounds

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