SEARCH 
Introduction
Table of Contents
Appendices  
Subject Index  
Glossary  
References
Related Links
About the Authors
Submit Comments
4-22: Exclusion from school for illness or injury
4-24: Reports to the public health department
5-02: Standards for food service equipment, practices
5-06: Drinking water
  > View All Chapter Guidelines  
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
Information for school custodians on air sampling, bioaerosols, infectious agents and industrial ventilation.
National Center for Infectious Diseases (CDC)
Access to division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases and of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. Brochures and resources for the public and professionals include tips on disease prevention through management of the physical environment, such as preventing accumulation of standing water and taking caution with animal feces.
  > View All Chapter Related Links  
6-14 - Reservoirs of infectious agents in physical environment
 

Control the indoor and outdoor school environment to prevent potential reservoirs for infectious agents from becoming a source of disease (e.g., standing water and animal droppings).

   
Rationale
 

Diseases caused by environmental source infectious agents can be life threatening. Preventive maintenance and control of the environment are relatively straightforward, effective and essential.

   
Commentary
 

Infectious agents (e.g., bacteria, fungi) are always present in the air, on environmental surfaces, and as part of contact with other persons. Bioaerosols are microscopic organisms in the air we breathe, are always present in the environment, and pose no problems when kept within reasonable limits. Although bacteria cause many odors in indoor environments (e.g., human body odor, locker room odors, sour milk), exposure to such bacteria is rarely harmful.

Rarely, specific infectious agents can become so populous that they pose a particular health risk. When excessively concentrated bioaerosols are inhaled, they can cause disease. The most serious risks are to immunologically compromised individuals. There are many examples: humidifiers may harbor bacteria and cause pneumonia, rhinitis (i.e., runny nose), and other respiratory infections; accumulation of bird droppings (feces) can carry infectious fungi (e.g., Histoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis); human contact with rodent droppings can lead to hantavirus infection; human contact with parasites and bacteria in feces of cats, dogs, fowl, and reptiles can cause diseases such as toxoplasmosis and salmonella. Untreated water reservoirs can release bioaerosols or attract disease-transmitting insects (e.g., mosquitoes), which may increase the risk for West Nile virus, Legionella disease, and malaria.

Birds, mice, rats and bats should not be allowed to colonize in attics, air intakes, or other areas near schools where people are likely to be exposed to fecal aerosols. Utilize methods to discourage migrating birds from congregating on school grounds. Any accumulated bird or rodent droppings should be treated to kill disease-causing organisms and then removed when the building is unoccupied.

Regularly clean ventilation systems and carpets. Prevent build-up of dirt and moisture. Immediately attend to unusual situations that could result in bioaerosol problems (e.g., wet carpets). Stagnant water should not be allowed to collect in ventilation system drain pans. Aerosol humidifiers should not be used in schools unless specific cleaning protocols are followed for preventing growth of infectious agents. Keep trash cans tightly covered and keep rain gutters clear of obstruction to prevent accumulation of standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The National Center for Infectious Diseases (68) has resources that are disease-specific (e.g., salmonella, West Nile virus, etc.) and provides tips on disease prevention through management of the physical environment, such as preventing accumulation of standing water and taking caution with animal feces. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (14) has resources targeted to building managers such as school custodians.

   
REFERENCES
 

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. School Workers Health and Safety Guide. 3rd Ed. CCOHS Publication #9760, 2001.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice. 24th ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists; 2001.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Guidelines for the Assessment of Bioaerosols in the Indoor Environment. Cincinnati, Ohio; 1989.

Emmons CW. Saprophytic sources of Cryptococcus neoformans associated with the pigeon (Columba livia). Am J Hyg. 1995;62:227-232.

Michel O, Ginanni R, Duchateau J, Vertongen F, LeBon B, Sergysels R. Domestic endotoxin exposure and clinical severity of asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 1991;21:441-448.

National Center for Infectious Diseases. An Ounce of Prevention: Keeps the Germs Away. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/op/handwashing.htm.

 
          
 
©  COPYRIGHT AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Site Map | Contact Us | Privacy Statement | About Us | Home
American Academy of Pediatrics, 141 Northwest Point Blvd., Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007, 847-434-4000