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HEPA Filtration: Combat High Levels of Contamination for Cleaner Air


Your healthcare facility is more than just a building; it's a vital tool in protecting its medical teams, admin staff, patients, and visitors. From environmental opportunistic pathogens (like Aspergillus spp. and Legionella spp.) to airborne pathogens, these invisible dangers pose a significant risk, especially to an immunocompromised patient population. The resulting impact on your medical facility could be sickness, severe infections, and even mortality. 

More than that, a lack of adherence to regulatory standards and compliance guidelines can have real consequences for the facility. For example, a facility that doesn’t comply with requirements to properly ventilate its operating room risks non-compliance and the potential dangers of improper ventilation. 

As a facility manager, you must ensure that your facility is equipped to combat potentially high contamination levels. The best way to do this is to first understand how airborne pathogens travel and then choose air filtration equipment specially designed to stop dangerous pathogens in their tracks

The Role of HEPA Filtration in Infection Control

Are you confident that your healthcare facility can contain potential infection and protect your patient populations from harm? High-efficiency Particulate Air filters, also called “HEPA” filters, are an industry-leading and highly effective tool for healthcare facilities of all kinds to fight against airborne contaminants and the spread of harmful pathogens. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefit of HEPA filtration systems and learn how to integrate their filtration power into your facility with the greatest possible impact. 

Disease Transmission 101

While most diseases are transmitted invisibly to the naked eye, there are actually many ways that the disease-causing pathogens can spread. The first distinction is whether the disease is transmitted by direct or indirect contact. 

Direct Contact 

Direct contact includes direct physical contact between an infected person and someone else and the spread of infected droplets. The spread of infection through droplets happens when an infected person speaks, sneezes, or coughs. 

Direct contact of the spread of droplets can be limited by creating physical barriers and appropriate separation of infected individuals from other patients or staff, as well as using appropriate protective gear such as masks or face shields. 

Indirect Contact

Indirect contact is more difficult to contain in such a simple way. There are three main types of indirect contact to be aware of when it comes to infection control.


Vehicle-borne transmission happens when the infected particles land on an inanimate object or surface and infect someone interacting with the contaminated surface. Consider items like eating utensils, bedding, furniture, etc. that vehicle-borne contaminants may infect. In this case, intensive cleaning practices can help limit the spread of disease.


Similarly, other living things transmit vector-borne diseases from one person to another. Typically, this is done by insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, or ticks. Infections like Malaria are spread by mosquitoes, making them a great example of a vector-borne disease. 

Within this type of transmission, there are two types: mechanical and biological vectors. A mechanical vector would be like a housefly that lands on an infected surface, and the particles then live on the outside of the fly. On the other hand, a biological vector would be like the Malaria-infected mosquito that carries and breeds the disease within its body. It’s only when the mosquito bites a new individual that the disease is transferred. 


Airborne particles are infection-causing particles that are able to hang in the air for extended periods of time. This is a particularly dangerous method of transmission because not only do they not require any type of vector to transmit the infection from one person to another, but there is a real danger of contracting an airborne infection even after an infected person has left the room. 

Airborne Diseases Cause Havoc in Healthcare Facilities

Airborne diseases pose a major threat to even the most modern medical facilities. Still, with the right knowledge and equipment, you can protect your hospital or medical center from high levels of airborne diseases. 

Understanding these diseases begins with how they are transmitted, the activities that can cause transmission, and the populations most highly impacted. To illustrate the dangers, we will explore two major categories of airborne diseases — fungal and bacterial.

Aspergillosis and Other Fungal Diseases

Aspergillosis, primarily caused by molds in the Aspergillus genus, thrives in dusty or moist environmental conditions. HEPA filtration is an excellent tool to mitigate the risks of this and other fungal diseases. 

Modes of Transmission

Airborne transmission of fungal spores; direct inhalation; direct inoculation from environmental sources (rare)

Activities Associated With Infection

Construction, renovation, remodeling, repairs, building demolition; rare episodes associated with fomites

Patient Populations at Greatest Risk

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients (HSCT); immunocompromised patients, patients undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, preterm neonates, hemodialysis patients, patients with identifiable immune system deficiencies who receive care in general ICUs, and cystic fibrosis patients (may be colonized, occasionally become infected)

Tuberculosis and Other Bacterial Diseases

The bacteria most commonly associated with airborne transmission is Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB). Implementing HEPA Filtration can assist in combating these high levels of bacterial diseases.

Modes of Transmission

Airborne transmission via droplet nuclei 1–5 μm in diameter

Activities Associated with Infections

Exposures in relatively small, enclosed spaces, inadequate ventilation, cough-producing procedures in areas without proper environmental controls, recirculation of air containing infectious droplet nuclei, and failure to use respiratory protection when managing open lesions for patients with suspected extrapulmonary

Patient Populations at Greatest Risk

Immunocompromised persons, medically underserved persons, urban poor, homeless persons, elderly persons, migrant farm workers, close contacts of known patients, substance abusers, present and former prison inmates, foreign-born persons from areas with a high prevalence of TB, healthcare workers

Industry-leading Filtration for High Levels of Contamination

The importance of filtration, especially the role of HEPA filtration in combating high levels of airborne contaminants, cannot be understated. Filtration, the physical removal of particulates from the air, is essential in achieving acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) and is the primary method to clean the air. 

5 Types of Air Filtration

There are five unique methods of air filtration:

  • Straining: Where particles in the air are larger than the openings between the filter fibers, resulting in the gross removal of large particles. This method has a low filtering efficiency.
  • Impingement: Particles collide with filter fibers and remain attached. The fibers may be coated with adhesive. This method also has a low filtering efficiency.
  • Interception: Particles enter the filter and become entrapped and attached to the filter fibers. This method has medium filtering efficiency.
  • Diffusion: Small particles, moving in erratic motion, collide with filter fibers and remain attached. This method has high filtering efficiency.
  • Electrostatic: Particles bearing negative electrostatic charge are attracted to the filter with positively charged fibers. This method also has high filtering efficiency.

These five types of air filtration are great in any scenario, from a hospital to your healthcare clinic. At HEPACART®, we use HEPA filters, which are a straining type of air filtration technology in our equipment for the best protection. We have seen the best results and best value for the price. HEPA filters, which are at least 99.97% efficient for removing particles ≥0.3 μm in diameter, are an incredibly valuable tool for removing harmful particles from the air and can equip your facility to remove even the most dangerous airborne contaminants.

For context, Aspergillus spores are 2.5–3.0 μm in diameter. HEPA filtration is a great option for sensitive areas such as PE rooms and operating rooms where patients may be at an increased risk of infection. 

Support Your Infection Control Efforts with HEPA Filtration

Exposure to airborne diseases, even accidentally, can significantly impact patient populations in a healthcare setting. When vulnerable groups are exposed to infection, the results can be devastating. However, there are steps that you can take to protect your facility and its patients from the spread of disease. With HEPA filtration, you can combat high levels of airborne pathogens and ensure a safer patient environment. 

Are you curious about how HEPA Filtration can keep your facility safe? Equip your team with knowledge about filtration for improved healthcare safety. Take the first step today and download our guide to HEPA filtration for a more detailed understanding of effectively defending your facility against airborne diseases.

Download ULPA vs. HEPA Guide

HEPA vs. ULPA Filter Guide