April 27, 2016

Finnish research a hub for locating infectious diseases

In normal circumstances, the risk of transmission on public transport is low and requires no special measures apart from normal hygiene. However, locations and situations in which there is an increased risk need to be identified so as to prepare for epidemics.
In normal circumstances, the risk of transmission on public transport is low and requires no special measures apart from normal hygiene. However, locations and situations in which there is an increased risk need to be identified so as to prepare for epidemics.
iStock.com/Mike_Sheridan

A project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is developing ways of reducing the risk of pandemics and managing other high-threat pathogen incidents in transport hubs.

After identifying transmission risk hotspots in airports and underground and train stations, the Pandhub project seeks to establish the potential routes by which infections are transmitted. Passenger flows and related special characteristics of these risk areas are also being surveyed.

VTT’s specific role is to develop risk analyses, protection and decontamination techniques. The project also involves testing and developing tools for dealing with pandemic threats.

The outcomes of Pandhub will be useful for analysing risks, preparing for emergencies and planning responses. Instructions for effectively cutting off different routes of transmission are being produced, and for protecting, cleaning and decontaminating people and facilities.

Health, emergency response and safety authorities are set to benefit from the findings, along with parties such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, WHO, transport hub operators and passengers themselves.

The project’s outcomes will be also harnessed by Finnish businesses to develop ventilation, filtering and pathogen reduction solutions.

Alongside VTT, the project’s participants include the University of Eastern Finland, Greater Paris University Hospitals and the Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology from France, and Public Health England and the University of Nottingham from the UK.

Results of the three-year project will be available towards the end of next year.

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