Pathogen Alert – Frequently Asked Questions

The RAPID Reader System continuously and automatically samples air every five minutes to detect the presence of pathogens based on light scattering measurements. After identifying a pathogen, the unit sends an alert to designated users via email or text. The visible LED status also alerts users of a pathogen and that a cartridge change is required. Return the contaminated cartridge for validation. After inserting the new cartridge, the RAPID reader automatically continues monitoring the air.

How much air does the RAPID Reader sample?

The RAPID unit draws a small air sample every five minutes, over a long period of time (up to two weeks). Air is constantly disturbed, so it is an accurate method of detecting pathogens in a monitored area.

Are there any incubation or analysis periods?

There are no external incubation steps as the analysis is ongoing while air sampling is performed.

What happens if a pathogen is detected?

The flow of air is stopped to ensure no spores or pathogenic species escape into the local environment. An alert signal immediately generates an email alert for designated users. Monitoring of the growth continues until the cartridge is changed to gain more detailed information of the pathogen.

How long does it take to receive an alert if contamination is present?

Once the contamination is detected users will receive the alert immediately. Depending on the targeted pathogen, it may take 6-9 hours for a pathogen to be detected after an initial sampling of airborne pathogens.

Does the RAPID Reader make recommendations if a pathogen is detected?

A PDF report is provided with the email alert (this is a similar format to traditional lab reports). This records the pathogen detected, the detection time and date and the location. If only the HyrdoServe service is scheduled, no further actions are taken. If “Pathogen Detection and Destruction” is scheduled as an integral part of the service, an array of advanced UVC germicidal lamps are energized and a BAS override will return all HVAC system setbacks to a full user-defined operational mode.

Do you use different testing methods to a laboratory?

The RAPID system combines fundamental laboratory practices and methodology of pathogen detection, with specifically engineered optical measurement technology to allow for remote and rapid monitoring.

Can you provide a pathogenic density level (CFU count in air)?

The current Rapid Reader detects and alerts to the presence of airborne pathogens, only. In this configuration, the RAPID system does not provide pathogenic density levels.

What optical system do we use?

The detection system incorporates a laser system, optical lensing components, detector electronics, and digital signal processing. It is a patented optical based system licensed by HydroServe.

What is the facilitation media?

A customized agar vial in the cartridge — this depends on the cartridge. i.e. aspergillus, e-coli., etc.

How many units can be connected to the hub/base station?

Up to 25 sensors can report back to a single base station, however consideration must be given to walls and other physical obstructions which can limit wireless transmission. A pre-installation survey should be carried out and wireless repeaters or additional hubs may be required.

What is the wireless range of the sensors?

The wireless range of the sensors from the ethernet base station is approx. 100-150 ft., dependent on the building and the number of sensors linked to the hub. Additional sensors extend the range of the system by using a ZigBee based wireless mesh network without requiring additional hubs.

What is the coverage/detection area for each sensor?

This will vary, but a six-bed hospital ward is one example (roughly 2400 sq. ft.). We recommend additional sensors be installed in high-risk locations to provide a more accurate method to pinpoint the source or concentration of contamination in a building.

Do Rapid Readers require ongoing calibration?

Each sensor is calibrated in-house before shipping and does not require further calibration. Returned cartridges are also tested to verify field readings.

Are you BMS compatible?

Yes – Note: Online software will connect to a BMS via the cloud.

Cartridge System

Is it possible to detect additional pathogens beyond those listed?

Yes — the RAPID Reader is currently optimized to detect specific bacteria, yeasts, and molds. If there is a demand for the detection of a specific pathogen not currently covered, research can assess the efficacy of the RAPID Reader device for detecting this pathogen. Certain pathogens require very particular environmental conditions to develop and it may not be compatible, so each pathogen is investigated on a case by case basis.

Is there a risk of a cartridge becoming a source of additional airborne contamination after detection?

The cartridge is a sealed compartment and the detection alert is sent at the first signs of pathogen growth. The air flow through the cartridge stops once detection occurs.

Can one RAPID Reader house different cartridges or do you have to change unit?

It is one cartridge per sensor. You can however switch between cartridge types using the same sensor.

How do you target one type of pathogen?

The cartridges use selective agars to target individual types or families of pathogen. This is a well-established process for targeting individual pathogens and gives a high degree of certainty that if detected, the pathogen is present in the environment.

Could my aspergillus cartridge detect another pathogen?

Essentially yes. Nutrient agars may attract the growth of other pathogens, but the optical density measurements will alert the user to growths that fall outside of the specific pathogen under examination, removing the chances of false positive results.

How long do cartridges last once loaded in the sensor?

Each cartridge should be exchanged every 2 weeks. However, this can be longer or shorter depending on conditions such as temperature and humidity.

What is the shelf life of cartridges?

If stored correctly, shelf-life for unopened cartridges is generally six months to one year. HydroServe will automatically provide replacement cartridges on either a one month or three-month schedule.

What is the operational temp for cartridges to work?

Each cartridge will be accompanied by a ‘standard operating environment’ checklist. Installation in environments outside of this specification will likely alter the units’ ability to operate at full efficiency.

Will dust affect my RAPID Reader?

The detection software algorithms monitor for erratic behavior, which might be caused by non-pathogenic particles such as dust and compensates appropriately.

How do I store my cartridges?

The cartridges are sterile and sealed and can therefore be stored on a benchtop if unopened (out of direct light, and away from environments that have largely varying temperatures). If available, refrigeration is recommended but not essential.

What do I do with a cartridge that has detected a pathogen?

Each cartridge is supplied with a Bio Waste Disposal bags and latex gloves. All spent cartridges, whether pathogens are detected or not detected, should be removed and deposited and sealed into the Bio Waste bag provided; and returned to HydroServe in the pre-paid shipping packaging provided for validation.

Can I throw my cartridges away once used?

Using the Bio-waste bag and prepaid label provided, spent cartridges should returned to HydroServe for verification and reader validation.

Do I need specialist training to manage installation & disposal of cartridges?

No specialist training is required. Each cartridge comes with full instructions on how to safely load and return cartridges.