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. FLIR 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 (EBT).
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, FLIR 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.
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 EBT detection method and as part of employee health and screening (EH&S).
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