Aerosol Transmissible Disease
Aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) are highly contagious infections that can spread quickly in the workplace.
OSHA has strict rules that organizations must follow to protect the health and safety of their workers.
Here is a comprehensive overview of the California OSHA standard for aerosol-transmissible diseases:
What is an Aerosol Transmissible Disease?
(ATDs) refer to illnesses requiring droplet or airborne precautions as defined by the California government
These diseases can be transmitted through infectious droplets, particles, direct contact, or breathing.
They can be categorized into three groups based on their specific characteristics:
- Airborne Infectious Diseases/Pathogens (AirID/AirIP): These are diseases that are spread through the air, like tuberculosis.
- Aerosol Transmissible Diseases/Pathogens (ATDs/ATPs): This category, which includes diseases like mumps or pertussis, requires droplet precautions. Aerosol transmissible diseases are transmitted by
- Upper respiratory tract
- Mucous membranes
- Aerosol Transmissible Pathogens – Laboratory (ATP-L): These are pathogens that are disseminated by aerosols produced in laboratories.
Difference Between Airborne and Droplet Transmission
Both particles can be generated during coughing, sneezing, etc. Droplets settle quickly, while aerosols can travel farther.
Aerosols can deeply affect the lower respiratory tract, potentially causing more severe illnesses. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for infection control.
OSHA Regulations for Aerosol Transmissible Disease
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have published multiple guidelines for organizations to follow in order to reduce their exposure to ATDs.
OSHA requires organizations to identify and designate one person to operate as the principal administrator. They are in charge of enforcing and monitoring the ATD infection control protocols. This person must have authority as well as understanding of infection control concepts. Furthermore, the employer must choose and designate a backup candidate to replace the original applicant if they are unavailable.
- Implement preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection:
- Display signs prompting individuals to report respiratory infection symptoms
- Educate employees on respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
- Provide ample hand washing facilities and supplies
- Isolate symptomatic individuals to prevent further spread
- Notify potentially exposed individuals
Conduct regular screenings for specific criteria, including:
- Cough that lasts more than three weeks
- Flu-like symptoms from March to October
- Anyone claiming to have ATD other than a cold or seasonal flu
- Anyone who claims to have been exposed to an ATD other than the seasonal flu should be investigated
Employers must maintain active and complete contact with all members of the workforce, including those working various shifts and those arriving during the day. Maintain frequent meetings and records to ensure that everyone has access to the same information deemed necessary to communicate in line with OSHA’s requirements.
While OSHA has standardized many laws and regulations, employee safety and infection prevention should be your top priorities. If you believe your procedures are hazardous or incorrectly performed, contact a healthcare expert for help in creating an appropriate protective strategy.
Q1: Are aerosol transmissible diseases transmitted by droplets?
No, ATDs are transmitted by tiny infectious particles known as aerosols, not droplets. Unlike droplets, which settle quickly, aerosols can remain airborne for extended periods and travel over longer distances.
Q2: Is aerosol transmission the same as airborne transmission?
Yes, aerosol transmission is considered a form of airborne transmission. In both cases, infectious particles are suspended in the air and can be inhaled, potentially leading to infection.
Q3: What is the most common aerosol transmissible disease?
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most common and well-known ATDs. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and primarily affects the lungs.
Q4: What are three recognized airborne contagious diseases?
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Influenza (Flu)
- COVID-19 (caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2)
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