ISO report on use of fever screening equipment is new tool in pandemic preparedness

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Example facial thermogramsA new ISO technical report on how to make the best use of medical equipment for fever screening at key locations such as international airports will help public health authorities to contain the spread of infectious diseases such as the H1N1 influenza virus and so prevent them from developing into pandemics.

ISO/TR 13154:2009, Medical electrical equipment – Deployment, implementation and operational guidelines for indentifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph, is a useful new tool for pandemic preparedness. The prime objectives of pandemic planning are to save lives, reduce the health impact of a pandemic and minimize disruption of health and other services, while maintaining business continuity and reducing the general disruption to society that is likely to ensue.

The ISO technical report will contribute to the efficient and effective use of thermographs used at sensitive locations for screening individuals for fever, which could indicate that they carry a virus. Such screening will enable public health authorities to formulate appropriate measures, from school closure to quarantine of suspected cases, thereby reducing exposure to the virus and limiting its transmission.

ISO/TR 13154:2009 provides general guidelines for the deployment, implementation and operation of a screening thermograph intended to be used for screening fever. A screening thermograph can be used in locations such as entrances to:

  • Hospitals and clinics, including emergency rooms
  • Critical infrastructure facilities
  • Workplaces
  • Schools
  • Government buildings, including police and fire stations, as well as access to
  • Public transport.

A screening thermograph can also play an important epidemiological role in defining the geographical boundaries of an outbreak.

Dave Osborn, Secretary of the ISO subcommittee responsible for ISO/TR 13154, comments: "The publication of the technical report is very timely given the current outbreak of H1N1 in several regions of the world. Because panic can lead to misdirected energies that waste previous resources, the ISO technical report deserves high marks for providing an important first step in the face of outbreaks of influenza and other infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), tuberculosis, anthrax and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other biological or bacterial agents whose early detection is vital."

ISO/TR 13154:2009 was derived, in part, from ISO member for Singapore's (SPRING) technical reference 15 published in two parts under the general title, Technical reference for thermal imagers for human temperature screening. The SPRING technical reference was created as a result of the Singapore experiences during the SARS outbreak of 2003.

ISO/TR 13154:2009, Medical electrical equipment – Deployment, implementation and operational guidelines for indentifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph, has been prepared by a Joint Working Group of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 121, Anaesthetic and respiratory equipment, subcommittee, SC 3, Lung ventilators and related equipment and IEC technical committee IEC/TC 62, Electrical equipment in medical practice, subcommittee SC D, Electromedical equipment. The technical report is a companion document to IEC 80601-2-59:2008, which gives the technical requirements of a screening thermograph, also developed by the Joint Working Group.

ISO/TR 13154:2009 (price 92 Swiss francs) and IEC 80601-2-59:2008 (price 168 Swiss francs) are available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column). IEC 80601-2-59:2008 is also available from IEC.