Emory University Hospital

Air flow.

That’s what makes the rooms in the special isolation unit at Emory University different than your standard hospital room.

Kent Brantly, the Texas-trained doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia, has been receiving care in an isolation unit in Atlanta for nearly two weeks. He said in a statement Friday that he was “recovering in every way.”

Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Serious Communicable Disease Unit, explained in an interview with NPR how this hospital’s special isolation unit works:

Extreme Air Flow

“The rooms have 20 air changes per hour so that all infectious particles are rapidly removed. Air flow is laminar in nature, which means it flows from the supply vent to the return with little potential for mixing. Air is HEPA [high efficiency particulate air] filtered before being exhausted.”

Negative Air Pressure

“Negative air pressure means that air moves from the hallway to the anteroom to the patient room, and not in the reverse direction. Since Ebola virus is not spread through the air, this feature is not important for the treatment of patients with Ebola virus infection. However, for diseases that are spread via the air, negative air pressure ensures that air carrying infectious particles does not spread to the hallway or other parts of the hospital, thus preventing spread of infection to visitors, patients or health care workers.”

Safety Suits

“We care for the patients using personal protective equipment designed to prevent our staff from coming into contact with blood, body fluids and large respiratory droplets. If the patients are having lots of diarrhea or vomiting we use Tyvek suits. Otherwise we use standard gowns and gloves. We use masks and either face shields or goggles to prevent exposure to respiratory droplets.”

To read the full NPR article, click here.