In-hospital infection control and contamination reduction
of viruses like COVID-19

The recent pandemic outbreak of the infection Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), reminds us once again about the ongoing challenge of emerging and re-emerging of contagious respiratory pathogens. 

Given the high number of ICU admissions requiring mechanical ventilation, hospitals dealing with the current COVID-19 virus are ringing the alarm bell as they are running out of ICU capacity. Therefore, slowing the spread of this virus transmission (‘flattening the coronavirus curve’) by performing infection control and contamination reduction is nearly as important as stopping it.

Most frequently, infection diseases cause symptoms of the common cold (type 1-2 patients: fever, cough, and shortness of breath). However, they can also lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure (AHRF) and severe lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, primarily in infants, older people, and the immunocompromised.1 These patients with acute breathing difficulties (type 3 patients) need lifesaving, adequate intensive care.

In-hospital virus transmission

Healthcare facilities are crucial in containing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases like the current novel coronavirus. Still, these Healthcare-Associated-Infections (HAI), also known as Hospital Acquired Infections or nosocomial infections, pose significant risk to patients as well as medical personnel.

NICE already reported in 2014 that around 1.5% of hospital inpatients will have a hospital-acquired respiratory infection, for instance Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP), at any given time2. Acquisition of Hospital-Acquired Infections in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) predispose patients to higher mortality rates and additional adverse events3. Also, it remains significant, and there is now soft COVID-19 evidence from both China and Italy, that healthcare workers who are infected have a higher rate of severe and critical illness than the normal population, plausibly because of exposure to a higher viral load.4

Ensuring the safety of healthcare workers is not only to safeguard continuous patient care but also to ensure they do not transmit the virus. Anaesthetists’ and intensivists’ involvement in the coronavirus containment is high since airway management, including tracheal intubation, is associated with some of the highest risks of transmission of infection.4  

Collaboration in planning and delivery of critical care services, as well as the protection of hospital staff safety, are essential. Therefore, the emergence and rapid increase of these kinds of respiratory infection diseases like COVID-19 require constant surveillance, early detection and prompt diagnosis in the hospital. 

Prevent and fight Hospital-Acquired Infections

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) is a practical, evidence-based approach which prevents patients and health workers from being harmed by avoidable infections. Preventing Healthcare-Associated-Infections avoids this unnecessary harm and at times even death, saves money, reduces the spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and supports high quality, integrated, people-centered health services. Preventing HAIs has never been more important.5 

“Vigilance in hand hygiene practice, wearing of surgical masks in the hospital, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment in patient care, especially when performing aerosol-generating procedures, are the key infection control measures to prevent hospital transmission of the virus” as quoted by Dr. Vincent C.C. Cheng, from the Department of Microbiology at Queen Mary Hospital, in Hong Kong.6 

WHO guidance on infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies for use when infection with a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is suspected can be found here.

How can we help you?

Our company offers one of the largest respiratory & monitoring product portfolios designed to reduce morbidity associated with Healthcare-Associated-Infections like the coronavirus, and specifically those affecting the respiratory tract.

Our mission is to work in partnership with healthcare professionals in order to win the race against Healthcare-Associated-Infections and to offer patients a fast and safe route to recovery.

Fast, Accurate Measurements with Infection Control Advantage Early Detection & Reduction of Contamination

NELLCOR™ Pulse Oximetry

- Delivers accurate, reliable readings to more effectively monitor a wider range of patients even in cases of low perfusion and patient motion7

- Offers full line of single-patient-use sensors to help meet the ever-growing demand to control infections in healthcare facilities

MICROSTREAM™ Capnography

- Helps identify patients with respiratory compromise 

- Optimizes monitoring and helps enhance outcomes in patients with respiratory failure or respiratory distress and helps intervene earlier

- Offers 0.2-micron sterilizing-grade filter to reduce risk of biohazard contamination of the monitor

Mon-a-therm™ Temperature Probes

- Quickly and accurately reflects changes in core body temperature

- Offers single-patient use convenience and infection control

Unique Safety to Reduction of Contamination Complete Solution between the Ventilator and the Patient


While using the Puritan Bennett™ 980 ventilator, the Puritan™ Bennett disposable expiratory filtration system reduces particles, virus and bacteria in the patient’s exhaled gas, protecting the ventilator’s exhalation and other people in the room from airborne pathogens

DAR™ Breathing Filters & Closed Suction 

DAR mechanical filters’ pleated medium significantly increases bacterial filtration efficiency, reaching an NaCl efficiency of greater than 99.97%, to provide effective protection against cross contamination8. Closed suction plays a role in reducing nosocomial infection by minimising the number of times a breathing circuit is broken


VAP prevention

A total product solution against VAP:

- TaperGuard Evac tube

- Automatic cuff controller

- Subglottic suction system

- Sterile water & Breathing Circuits

About the author

Moniek Haan is a Marketing Program Manager Respiratory & Monitoring Solutions EMEA

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  • 7. 10101937 - Motion, Clinical Protocol 081400-N Rev F-1 - Low Perfusion Testing Nellcor 

  • 8. Nelson Laboratories Inc. Sodium chloride aerosol testing of breathing system Filters (BSF). Lab.No. 399951A.1 Amended. Jan 2008