A new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical report will help public health authorities to contain the spread of infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 influenza virus, and so prevent them from developing into pandemics.
Medical electrical equipment – Deployment, implementation and operational guidelines for indentifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph, ISO/TR 13154:2009, is a useful new tool for pandemic preparedness. It outlines how to make the best use of medical equipment for fever screening at key locations, such as international airports.
'The publication of the technical report is very timely given the current outbreak of H1N1 in several regions of the world,' says Dave Osborn, Secretary of the ISO subcommittee responsible for ISO/TR 13154. 'Because panic can lead to misdirected energies that waste precious resources, the ISO technical report deserves high marks for providing an important first step in the face of outbreaks of influenza and other infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), tuberculosis, anthrax, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other biological or bacterial agents whose early detection is vital.'
The prime objectives of pandemic planning are to save lives, reduce the health impact of a pandemic, and minimise disruption of health and other services, while maintaining business continuity and reducing the general disruption to society that is likely to ensue.
The technical report will contribute to the efficient and effective use of thermographs used at sensitive locations for screening individuals for fever, which could indicate that they carry a virus. Such screening will enable public health authorities to formulate appropriate measures, from school closure to quarantine of suspected cases, thereby reducing exposure to the virus and limiting its transmission.
ISO/TR 13154:2009 provides general guidelines for the deployment, implementation, and operation of a screening thermograph intended to be used for screening fever. A screening thermograph can be used in locations such as entrances to:
- hospitals and clinics, including emergency rooms
- critical infrastructure facilities
- government buildings, including police and fire stations, as well as access to public transport.
A screening thermograph can also play an important epidemiological role in defining the geographical boundaries of an outbreak.