Pathogens have been around on our earth for millions of years. The most common types of pathogens are viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Approximately 1400 human pathogens have been identified and described. However, it is estimated that there are one trillion microbial species on our planet! A majority of pathogens are inherently harmless. However, some types of pathogens can invade the human body to cause, transmit, and spread diseases.
Pathogens can inhabit anywhere – air, water, soil, food, plants, animals, surfaces, and even your body. In this blog, we will take a close look at airborne pathogens.
Understanding Airborne Pathogens
As it is obvious from the name, airborne pathogens live in the air. An infected person exhales, sneezes, coughs, talks, or laughs, he discharges pathogens via the throat and nasal secretions from his body into the air. These pathogens remain suspended in the air or cling to surfaces in the form of small or aerosolized particles. When you inhale these pathogens, you can become infected.
The threat of airborne pathogens should be taken “very seriously,” says Jeffrey Cirillo, PhD, associate professor of microbial and molecular pathology at Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. Air is the most efficient way for bacteria to enter large numbers of people
Types of Airborne Diseases
Common colds and influenza are the most widespread respiratory diseases that you can get via airborne transmission. A few other common diseases include:
Measles cases accounted for 7.5 million cases globally in 2020. The virus that causes measles can remain active for up to two hours in the air or surface.
- Chicken Pox
The annual incidence of chicken pox is 80-90 million cases worldwide. It mostly occurs in children but adults can get it too. The symptoms appear within 10-21 days after exposure to the virus.
- Tuberculosis (TB)
TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after coronavirus. There were 10 million cases of TB globally in 2020. The symptoms may take days, weeks, or months to appear. However, once a person gets TB, the bacteria can multiply quickly and attack the lungs and other parts of the body.
The novel coronavirus which turned into a global pandemic needs no introduction. It spreads from person to person through viral particles that float in the air or through droplets containing the virus. There have been more than 533 million cases, including 6.3 million deaths. Experts say that it has reached the endemic stage but it is still ongoing and poses a great risk to human health.
Importance of UVGI to Control Airborne Diseases
Masks, physical distancing, good hygiene, good ventilation, and vaccination are preventive measures for airborne diseases. However, they are not foolproof.
Moreover, airborne diseases can also spread indoors through Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. If HVAC units are not cleaned at regular intervals or not supported by ventilation, they can accumulate viruses, bacteria, mold, dust, and other pathogens in the coils and ducts. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) is a proven and effective technology to kill and inactivate these microorganisms. The UVGI air disinfection technology uses UV-C, the short wavelength light to destroy the DNA and RNA of airborne pathogens and prevent them from multiplying or reproducing.
The history of UVGI dates back to 1877 when research showed that UV radiation can prevent the growth of microorganisms. Since then, several studies have been undertaken to prove the effectiveness of UV to destroy airborne pathogens and lower the risk of airborne diseases. According to the latest study by researchers in the UK and the US, UV-C light can decrease the level of airborne microbes in a room by more than 92%. It can even combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 transmission. Even the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends the use of UV light in air-handing units or air ducts to inactivate airborne microorganisms.
That’s why UVGI air purifiers are also gaining popularity worldwide. It is estimated that the global market for UVGI air purifiers will surpass the value of USD 2.5 billion by 2031.
Benefits of Alfaa UV Products
Alfaa UV is a well-known name in UVGI air sterilization. It offers three types of UVGI solutions:
ULTRACOIL is designed for deep cleaning of air purifier coils. Its unique Parabolic Reflector System proactively eradicates the biofilms, drains pans, and prevents air contamination.
ULTRADUCT is installed in supply or return ducts for single-pass disinfection of airborne bacteria and viruses.
- STEREO-UP Upper Air UV System
With exceptionally potent UVGI, this is useful for extensive coverage of upper sections in any indoor space.