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Evaluation of the Operator Protection Factors Offered by Positive Pressure Air Suits against Airborne Microbiological Challenge
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0JQ, UK
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Received: 27 June 2012; in revised form: 18 July 2012 / Accepted: 30 July 2012 / Published: 7 August 2012
Abstract: Laboratories throughout the world that perform work with Risk Group 4 Pathogens generally adopt one of two approaches within BSL-4 environments: either the use of positive pressure air-fed suits or using Class III microbiological safety cabinets and isolators for animal work. Within the UK at present, all laboratories working with Risk Group 4 agents adopt the use of Class III microbiological safety cabinet lines and isolators. Operator protection factors for the use of microbiological safety cabinets and isolators are available however; there is limited published data on the operator protection factors afforded by the use of positive pressure suits. This study evaluated the operator protection factors provided by positive pressure air suits against a realistic airborne microbiological challenge. The suits were tested, both intact and with their integrity compromised, on an animated mannequin within a stainless steel exposure chamber. The suits gave operator protection in all tests with an intact suit and with a cut in the leg. When compromised by a cut in the glove, a very small ingress of the challenge was seen as far as the wrist. This is likely to be due to the low airflow in the gloves of the suit. In all cases no microbiological penetration of the respiratory tract was observed. These data provide evidence on which to base safety protocols for use of positive pressure suits within high containment laboratories.
Keywords: Risk Group 4; positive pressure suits; aerosol microbiological challenge; OPF
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Steward, J.A.; Lever, M.S. Evaluation of the Operator Protection Factors Offered by Positive Pressure Air Suits against Airborne Microbiological Challenge. Viruses 2012, 4, 1202-1211.
Steward JA, Lever MS. Evaluation of the Operator Protection Factors Offered by Positive Pressure Air Suits against Airborne Microbiological Challenge. Viruses. 2012; 4(8):1202-1211.
Steward, Jackie A.; Lever, Mark S. 2012. "Evaluation of the Operator Protection Factors Offered by Positive Pressure Air Suits against Airborne Microbiological Challenge." Viruses 4, no. 8: 1202-1211.