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NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Infectious Aerosols

Infectious aerosols are dispersions of airborne liquid or solid particles capable of causing infection. Occupational exposures to airborne microbial agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause illness in workers in a variety of settings, including health care, poultry farming, construction, and emergency response. This page contains resources to aid workers and employers in reducing exposures to infectious aerosols.


NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Infectious Aerosols
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by the NIOSH.

NIOSH Publications

Histoplasmosis — Protecting Workers at Risk
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-109 (2004)  
The updated information in this revised booklet will aid in understanding what histoplasmosis is and recognize activities that may expose workers to the disease-causing fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. The booklet also informs readers about methods they can use to protect themselves and others from exposure.

Interim Recommendations for the Selection and Use of Protective Clothing and Respirators Against Biological Agents
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-109 (2001)
Contains recommendations for personal protective equipment use in given exposure conditions based on current understanding at the time of publication.

Related NIOSH Safety and Health Topics

Provides links to a variety of information regarding the measurement, control, exposure characterization and health effects associated with aerosols in the workplace.

Avian Influenza
Provides overview information and comprehensive workplace resources about avian influenza.

Eye Protection for Infection Control
Provides information on types of eye protection for a variety of exposure settings where workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases via ocular exposure.

Understanding Respiratory Protection Against SARS
Provides information on personal protective equipment and techniques to prevent exposure to SARS, and the spread of contaminated materials.

Other Government Resources

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) (CDC)
External Link:
The CDC webpage on avian influenza provides background information about avian influenza, including recent outbreaks, the viruses, and the risk to human health including professional guidance for infection control in health care facilities.

Avian Influenza, Protecting Poultry Workers at Risk (OSHA)
External Link:
this document in PDF PDF only  47 KB (8 pages)
This Safety and Health Information Bulletin describes measures for protecting poultry workers when an avian influenza outbreak occurs. It presents basic information about avian influenza and describes measures for minimizing exposure to the virus.

Guidance for Protecting Workers Against Avian Flu (OSHA)
External Link:
Avian influenza is a highly contagious disease of birds which is currently epidemic amongst poultry in Asia. Despite the uncertainties, poultry experts agree that immediate culling of infected and exposed birds is the first line of defense for both the protection of human health and the reduction of further losses in the agricultural sector.

Infectious Aerosols

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