Investigating a safe ventilation rate for the prevention of indoor SARS transmission: An attempt based on a simulation approach

An Erratum to this article was published on 22 December 2009


This paper identifies the “safe ventilation rate” for eliminating airborne viral infection and preventing cross-infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in a hospital-based setting. We used simulation approaches to reproduce three actual cases where groups of hospital occupants reported to be either infected or not infected when SARS patients were hospitalized in nearby rooms. Simulations using both computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and multi-zone models were carried out to understand the dilution level of SARS virus-laden aerosols during these scenarios. We also conducted a series of measurements to validate the simulations. The ventilation rates (dilution level) for infection and non-infection were determined based on these scenarios. The safe ventilation rate for eliminating airborne viral infection is to dilute the air emitted from a SARS patient by 10000 times with clean air. Dilution at lower volumes, specifically 1000 times, is insufficient for protecting non-infected people from SARS exposure and the risk of infection is very high. This study provides a methodology for investigating the necessary ventilation rate from an engineering viewpoint.


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Correspondence to Yi Jiang.

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Jiang, Y., Zhao, B., Li, X. et al. Investigating a safe ventilation rate for the prevention of indoor SARS transmission: An attempt based on a simulation approach. Build. Simul. 2, 281–289 (2009).

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  • SARS
  • ventilation rate
  • simulation
  • infection