About this item:

120 Views | 91 Downloads

Author Notes:

Correspondence to Dr Elijah Paintsil; elijah.paintsil@yale.edu

Handling editor: Seye Abimbola

All the authors contributed to the conception of the work; review of literature; drafting the work and revising it critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version to be published; and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Competing interests: None declared.


Research Funding:

The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


  • prevention strategies
  • respiratory infections
  • Africa
  • Air Microbiology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Isolation
  • Patients' Rooms
  • Pneumonia, Viral
  • Respiration, Artificial

Transmission risk of respiratory viruses in natural and mechanical ventilation environments: implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Africa.

Show all authors Show less authors


Journal Title:

BMJ Global Health


Volume 5, Number 8


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Respiratory viruses can be transmitted through contact, droplet and airborne routes. Viruses that are not naturally airborne may be aerosolised during medical procedures and transmitted to healthcare workers. Most resource-limited healthcare settings lack complex air handling systems to filter air and create pressure gradients that are necessary for minimising viral transmission. This review explores the association between ventilation and the transmission of respiratory viruses like SAR-CoV-2. When used appropriately, both natural and mechanical ventilation can decrease the concentration of viral aerosols, thereby reducing transmission. Although mechanical ventilation systems are more efficient, installation and maintenance costs limit their use in resource-limited settings, whereas the prevailing climate conditions make natural ventilation less desirable. Cost-effective hybrid systems of natural and mechanical ventilation may overcome these limitations.

Copyright information:

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Export to EndNote