Estimation of tuberculosis risk and incidence under upper room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in a waiting room in a hypothetical scenario

Risk Anal. 2001 Aug;21(4):657-73. doi: 10.1111/0272-4332.214142.


Environmental control measures (ventilation, high-efficiency particulate air filtration, and upper room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation [UVGI]) are recommended to effectively control tuberculosis (TB) transmission from unsuspected TB patients in high-risk settings, but the effectiveness of their use is not often clear. This study presents a simulation model for a hypothetical hospital waiting room, in which the number of susceptible immunocompetent people in the waiting room follows a Poisson distribution (M = 5) in either low (annual number of TB patients = 5) or high TB risk settings (annual number of TB patients = 50), and used the model to evaluate the reduction of TB transmission risk by upper room UVGI. An exponential dose-response model was used for TB transmission and a two-zone model was used for evaluating the effect of upper room UVGI. Upper room UVGI reduced TB risk by 1.6-fold at 3 microW/cm2 UV irradiance in the upper room in the low TB risk setting and by 4.1-fold at 15 microW/cm2 UV irradiance in the upper room in the high TB risk setting. Use of upper room UVGI also reduced the mean annual new infection rate from 2.2 to 1.3 infections per year at 3 microW/cm2 and to 0.6 infections per year at 15 microW/cm2 in our hypothetical high-risk settings. The effect of upper room UVGI was sensitive to both vertical air velocity (air mixing) and UV irradiance level. Results from partitioning variability indicate that most variability of TB transmission risk came from waiting time in our hypothetical hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Environment, Controlled*
  • Health Facility Environment*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Risk
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*