Can thermal cameras be used to detect a virus or an infection? The quick answer to this question is no, but thermal imaging cameras can be used to detect Elevated Body Temperature. Thermal cameras have a long history of being used in public spaces—such as airports, train terminals, businesses, factories, and concerts—as an effective tool to measure skin surface temperature and identify individuals with Elevated Body Temperature (E.B.T.).
In light of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which is now officially a pandemic, society is deeply concerned about the spread of infection and seeking tools to help slow and ultimately stop the spread of the virus. Although no thermal cameras can detect or diagnose the Coronavirus, approved thermal cameras can be used as an adjunct to other body temperature screening tools for detecting elevated skin temperature in high-traffic public places through quick individual screening.
If the temperature of the skin in key areas (especially the corner of the eye and forehead) is above average temperature, then the individual may be selected for additional screening. Identifying individuals with E.B.T., who should then be further screened with virus-specific diagnostic tests, can help reduce or dramatically slow the spread of viruses and infections.
Using thermal cameras, officials can be more discrete, efficient, and effective in identifying individuals that need further screening with virus-specific tests. A variety of institutions, including transportation agencies, businesses, factories, and first responders are using thermal screening as an E.B.T. detection method and as part of employee health and screening (EH&S). Airports in particular are actively employing approved thermal cameras as part of their screening measures for passengers and flight crews. The screening procedures implemented at airports and in other public places are just the first step when it comes to detecting a possible infection: it’s a quick way to screen for anyone who might be sick, and must always be followed up with further screening before authorities decide to quarantine a person.
What thermal cameras are used for thermal screening? While governments outside the United States may choose from many different cameras, FLIR has a 510(k) filing (K033967) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for select camera models for use as an adjunct to other body temperature screening tools to detect differences in skin surface temperatures.
We only offer FDA Approved Equipment
Meets FDA guidelines for initial body temperature assessment during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Seek Scan is one of the most affordable solutions that meets FDA guidelines for thermal imaging systems used for initial body temperature assessment during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency. Per the FDA guidelines released in April 2020, Seek Scan meets the accuracy specification, includes a reference heat source and is made for single person screening Seek Scan is a simple, low-cost, thermal imaging system designed to automate body temperature screening using skin temperature as a proxy. With ±0.3°C (±0.5°F) accuracy and the inclusion of a reference heat source, Seek Scan delivers the same performance as an infrared temporal thermometer – but automated from a safe social distance. The system can be installed in lobbies, hallways and other key access points to help businesses, institutions and venues reopen a safer environment for their workforce, customers, members and patrons. Easy-to-install and easy-to-use, the system can be up and running in minutes with no special equipment or training. As the #1 supplier of thermal sensors to the Public Safety market and one of the largest suppliers of all commercial thermal sensors globally, they have built hundreds of thousands of thermal cameras used worldwide.