What is a droplet infection

Droplet infection

English: droplet infection

1 definition

As Droplet infection This is the term used to describe the transmission of bacteria and viruses through tiny secretion droplets that come from the human respiratory tract (especially the nasal mucous membrane), fly through the air and are taken up by other people when they breathe.

2 sequence

The pathogens are released by sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing. The swirling of the secretions in the turbulent air flow creates an aerosol with secretion particles of various sizes. They can be roughly divided into

  • Secretion particles with a diameter of less than 5 µm and
  • Secretion particles with a diameter of more than 5 µm.

Smaller secretion particles can float longer in the air than larger particles, which lower their weight more quickly. They can also penetrate deeper into the airways and therefore theoretically pose a higher risk.

However, larger particles usually contain more pathogens, making them potentially more infectious. In addition, they are completely deposited on the mucous membrane of the airways, while smaller particles tend to float in the airflow.

When a sufficient amount of the pathogen has settled on the mucous membrane of the host, the basis for a subsequent invasion of the pathogen is laid.

3 critical distance

The critical distance to a sick person is defined differently by different sources. The information varies from 1 meter over 1.8 m up to 3 m. These numerical values ​​have little practical use in individual cases, as the actual exposure depends on numerous other factors, including the direction of the cough and the spatial conditions (room size, air circulation , Humidity, etc.).

4 examples

Most epidemics and pandemics are caused by infectious agents that are spread by droplet infection. The most important infectious diseases transmitted by secretion droplets include:

5 prevention

In order to reduce the transmission of pathogens through droplet infection, the following measures, among others, are suitable:

Attempts are made in the clinical setting to prevent droplet infections through air suction and negative pressure in the patient's room.