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College students work to sterilize air, kill pathogens on buses
Date:4/27/2012

terial colonies," Spinella said. "That was even less than what you would see in outside air, and much less than in a bus without our system installed."

Team members have filed for a patent on FluProof and hope to commercialize it. In the meantime, METRO will keep tabs on their progress.

"When the opportunity arose to partner with Rice University and the students, we said, 'We're on board,'" said Andrew Skabowski, senior vice president of service delivery for Houston METRO. "We've been a facilitator, more than anything. All the engineering work was done by the students, and they were excellent. They worked very hard.

"We want to do anything we can do to improve the environment within a bus for our passengers," he said. "Cost and reliability are important factors to us, but we'll take a serious look at whatever they come up with."

After local media reported on the CityBusters project last fall, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services took issue with the finding that bus routes are a risk factor for tuberculosis transmission, as detailed in the HTI study, and issued this statement: "Tuberculosis transmission has never been associated with public transportation. Transmission of TB is most common among family members and other close associates; casual, irregular contact in a hallway or a bus is very unlikely to cause infection." The statement noted UV light from sunlight is an effective disinfectant on buses during daylight hours, and that typical public transportation has good mechanical ventilation and frequent door openings. Despite their reservations, city officials also value the work Rice students are doing.

"The Houston Department of Health and Human Services always appreciates the contributions of the academic community in preventing the transmission of communicable disease," said Kathy Barton, chief of public affairs for the department. "The CityBusters initiative is worthy of further investigation, part
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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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