Thermal imaging can detect elevated body temperature, one of the signs of the H1N1 virus (swine flu).
Ft Meyers FL, USA — As concern continues to mount about the spread of the swine flu globally, airport authorities are responding by using digital thermal Infrared imaging technology to scan passengers.
Thermal imaging can detect elevated body temperature, one of the signs of the virus H1N1 (swine flu).
???Medical thermal imaging at airports and any other locations where the public congregate targets individuals who are already symptomatic and likely to be infectious,??? says Peter Leando, Ph.D., Managing Director of Meditherm.
Meditherm???s thermal imaging system is one of the only digital thermal imaging scanners designed specifically for the human body giving the airport authorities the accuracy that they are looking for to identify infected passengers traveling from country to country.
The company???s medical thermal imaging systems are in use at airports in Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The highest risk for the geographic spread of infection is through travel and ???seeding???. Thermal imaging of travelers has several benefits:
o Sensitive screening to detect abnormal physiology (hot or cold) will have a high percentage of accuracy in detecting abnormal temperatures, which then leads to further testing of an individual in order to confirm symptoms or rule out clinical suspicion. This group will generally already be symptomatic and are best detected with a mass screening approach including rapid movement through airports.
o Sensitive but targeted screening can detect individuals who may not exhibit symptoms but will show abnormalities days before symptoms evolve. This will include high risk groups of individuals, traveling from infected areas.
o Establishing routine fever screening during outbreaks will deter individuals from traveling if they know or suspect that they have any symptoms whatsoever. This group has the greatest potential to limit the spread by complying with the World Health Organization and other advisory body recommendations not to travel if you have been exposed to anyone infected or have any symptoms yourself.
While fever screening stations will not prevent the spread completely, they are an integral part of the effort to limit the outbreak and reduce the number of deaths, says Dr. Leando.
In recent days, more orders have been placed for Meditherm???s medical thermal imaging system from customers wanting to screen not only in airports but in large corporations, manufacturing plants and even public entertainment facilities in the UK, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, St Martin, USA, Puerto Rico and Argentina, with enquiries also coming from several other countries, including Mexico.
Based in Fort Myers, Florida, privately-owned Meditherm Inc. manufactures and distributes the Med 5220 and Med 520 line of digital thermal imaging systems, also known as Fever Screen Stations. Meditherm is currently the only medical device manufacturer building IR equipment exclusively for medical and clinical use and more than 2,000 Meditherm scanners are currently in use worldwide for a wide range of medical uses including fever screening, sports medicine, breast screening, pain clinics, and vascular studies which include stroke risk evaluation and deep vein thrombosis.
For more information visit Meditherm’s website at: www.meditherm.com/fever_screening.htm
United States (Head Office)
1314 Florida Ave
Fort Myers, FL 33901 USA
Other Offices and Representatives:
Aruba and The Netherlands Antilles
Why such a series?
This series of stories highlights the suppliers of Temperature measurement devices intended and specially designed for screening people for elevated body temperature, a likely indicator of fever and possible an infection, such as SARS, Avian Flu, Swine (H1N1 Virus) Flu, Dengue and others.
We do this for several reasons:
1. Most people are unskilled in selection and use of Infrared Thermal Imagers and thermometers. Consequently there are often serious mistakes made in both choosing and using such devices. We feel it is important to use our knowledge of them to try to save us from those who rush to judgment on technical matters without adequate input and thought. We are highlighting equipment suppliers who make devices tailored for this use as evidenced by product details on their web pages. (This is not an endorsement of those suppliers but rather an information resource to help cull out those who have some experience and products intended for this use.)
2. Please be aware there are now some international standards for these devices, their performance, and introductory standardized practices for their use. You can get the best help in selecting and using them, we believe. from experts at your National Measurement Institute (NMI) who specialize in the infrared field. There is a list of all the NMIs in the world at the website of the International Bureau of Weights & Measures (Le Bureau international des Poids et Mesures – BIPM) and a selected list on www.TempSensor.net.
3. Some vendors are more careful and experienced than others and we recommend that you check the experts at more than one of them before making any decisions plus run your views past the NMI experts before finalizing them.
4. Although the use of these devices doesn’t directly detect infection or all who are infected, it has been demonstrated that their careful use and selection during the SARS crisis of 2003 can help screen for and locate some who have the illness. The individuals then get more rapid treatment and are quarantined to reduce their possible effect on others. (See the SARS pages on www.temperatures.com for some details, reference stories and article links)
5. Yes, there were undoubtedly false negative as well as false positives in earlier uses. There will always likely be some of both. However, misuse, mostly though improvised practices and hasty, ill considered equipment choices, will increase the probability of more false negatives.
6. An effort to finalize ISO Standards for equipment performance and use will go a long way to improving the situation. Until a viable set of standards, developed by world experts are in use, we shall see continued mis-specification and misapplication of equipment and subsequent squandering of resources, in our opinion.
Note In late 2008, IEC published the standard: IEC 80601-2-59 Ed. 1.0 “Medical electrical equipment – Part 2-59: Particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of screening thermographs for human febrile temperature screening”. It provides many performance and calibration requirements for devices used in this application.
In March 2009, the ISO standard, ISO/TR 13154:2009 “Medical electrical equipment — Deployment, implementation and operational guidelines for identifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph”, was published. It bears directly on this use, and while not perfect, does represent a major milestone completed since SPRING Singapore began their effort to create workable standards in 2003.
The standards may be purchased and downloaded online at: www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51236 and webstore.ansi.org RecordDetail.aspx?sku=IEC+80601-2-59+Ed.+1.0+b%3a2008 respectively.
(Kudos to John Snell of Snell Infrared for advising about the links for the online availability of these standards)