Zika virus concerns by commercial building owners drive additional interest in doorway air curtains, especially in healthcare, hospitality educational buildings.
The seemingly inevitable spread of Zika virus from South America to North America through mosquito contact this summer is prompting additional interest in HVAC industry air curtains by commercial building managers in the most vulnerable fields, such as healthcare, hospitality and education.
"We have started receiving questions regarding Zika virus and using air curtains to prevent mosquitoes from entering buildings," said Miranda Berner, marketing manager, Berner International, New Castle, Pa., the nation's leading air curtain manufacturer.
Confirming the public's Zika virus concern is Orkin LLC, Atlanta, which began fielding mosquito service calls in early April instead of the typical time of late May, according to Ron Harrison, Ph.D, Orkin's director of technical services. Orkin, which has more than 1.7 million pest control customers across the globe, provides a mosquito-specific service consisting of larvaecide and adult mosquito treatments, but has also recommended air curtains as a supplemental flying insect deterrent for decades.
Air curtains (sometimes referred to as air doors), which are typically specified by engineers and installed by HVAC or electrical contractors for occupant comfort and energy savings, provide a steady, engineered airstream across an opened doorway making it also impenetrable by flying insects. For decades food processing and pharmaceutical manufacturers have used air curtains against flying insects, such as house flies for sanitary reasons, now the mosquito and the Zika virus scare has given them a renewed purpose besides house fly control.
"Air movement is known to be effective at disrupting insect flight," said Dr. Jerome Hogsette, lead scientist at the U.S. Dairy Association's (USDA) Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, Gainesville, Fla. "By providing direction to air movement to create a barrier, air curtains protect against the intrusion of mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects."
Zika virus is spread mainly through mosquitoes. It causes flu-like symptoms that can be overcome with rest, but the greatest fear is its ability to cause microcephaly in the babies of pregnant women, which greatly concerns healthcare facility managers. Zika virus has a potential to spread in North America, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which called it a pandemic last January.
Pest management experts recommend passive safeguards such as wearing long sleeved shirts, using insect repellents, eliminating breeding areas of standing water and dry leaves, and fixing breaches in screens windows and doors. Air curtains pose one of the few proactive, chemical-free deterrents to mosquito infiltration when a door is open.
"There's definitely a heightened interest and experts are concerned that Zika virus could be problematic for North America this year," said Orkin's Harrison.
About Berner: Berner International Corporation is a 58-year-old manufacturer and a leader in the air door/air curtain equipment manufacturing industry. Berner is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The Green Building Alliance (GBA), the Air Movement Control Association (AMCA), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and also a certified Women’s Business Enterprise National Council member (WBENC). For more information on Berner and its products, please call (724)-658-3551 x419 or visit www.berner.com
About Orkin, LLC: Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at Orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL). Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Contact: Miranda Berner—marketing comm. mgr.