A numerical study of ventilation strategies for infection risk mitigation in general inpatient wards

Manoj Kumar Satheesan, Kwok Wai Mui, Ling Tim Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Aerial dispersion of human exhaled microbial contaminants and subsequent contamination of surfaces is a potential route for infection transmission in hospitals. Most general hospital wards have ventilation systems that drive air and thus contaminants from the patient areas towards the corridors. This study investigates the transport mechanism and deposition patterns of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) within a typical six bedded general inpatient ward cubicle through numerical simulation. It demonstrates that both air change and exhaust airflow rates have significant effects on not only the airflow but also the particle distribution within a mechanically ventilated space. Moreover, the location of an infected patient within the ward cubicle is crucial in determining the extent of infection risk to other ward occupants. Hence, it is recommended to provide exhaust grilles in close proximity to a patient, preferably above each patient’s bed. To achieve infection prevention and control, high exhaust airflow rate is also suggested. Regardless of the ventilation design, all patients and any surfaces within a ward cubicle should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove microbial contamination. The outcome of this study can serve as a source of reference for hospital management to better ventilation design strategies for mitigating the risk of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-896
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding Simulation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • bioaerosol dispersion
  • computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • hospital general ward
  • indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • infection risk
  • ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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