One of the biggest issues with improper ductwork cleaning is the spread of the Aspergillus fungus. Aspergillus is a fungus whose spores are present in the air we breathe, but does not normally cause illness. However, for those with weakened immune systems, damaged lungs or with allergies, Aspergillus can be a serious health hazard. While strains of this fungus are present in everyday air and dirt, certain strains are stirred up by construction or other maintenance and spread throughout the air ducts. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to have your facility’s ventilation systems to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Hospitals are supposed to provide a clean and sanitary area for patients to recover in. Unfortunately, the ductwork is one area of hospitals that goes without being cleaned or considered, often with deadly results. This out of sight, out of mind area can become a breeding ground for dangerous molds, like Aspergillus. These ducts can end up blowing bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus throughout the building and into patient’s rooms. While most hospitals have specialized air pressure rooms for highly contagious patients, the general airflow is not as heavily controlled in standard rooms.
High Profile Cases of Aspergillosis in Hospital Deaths
- In 1982-1983 the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York had ten bone marrow transplant patients die from an Aspergillosis infection spread by an out of date and dirty air filtration system.
- In 1994-1995 Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky fourteen cases were brought against the hospital for organ transplant patients dying when Aspergillus was spread throughout the building during construction work on the outside of the building.
- In 2014 a 9 year old boy who had beaten Leukemia twice died from an Aspergillosis lung infection caused by construction dust at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital while he was being treated.
- And most recently, in NOV. 2019 Seattle Children’s Hospital revealed that 14 children dating back to 2001 had been infected with Aspergillus mold, six of them fatally.
These are just a few of the thousands of people infected from the air ducts while staying in a hospital each year. It is essential for hospitals to follow all cleaning requirements and close off ventilation when performing construction or maintenance.
Routine HVAC systems cleaning services is the first step in removing airborne contaminants and allergens out of the air you breathe. Making sure that dirt, dust and debris has been properly removed from air entrance and exit points (including grilles and registers), will help to keep particles out of the ambient air.
When people walk into a hospital they want to be able to walk out again. Having your ductwork cleaned can help improve the air quality and keep patients with weakened immune systems safe. If your hospital air quality is an issue, we can help keep your ductwork clean and the air you breathe safe.