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Identification of airborne microbiota in selected areas in a health-care setting in South Africa.

Setlhare G, Malebo N, Shale K, Lues R - BMC Microbiol. (2014)

Bottom Line: Microbial counts were found to be higher in the fourth (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds when compared to the first (≥2 cfu/m(-3)), second (≤3.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) and third (≤1.5 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds.Furthermore, fungal genera identified (e.g. Candida) in this study are also known to cause food spoilage and fungal infections in patients.Results from this study indicate the importance of air quality monitoring in health-care settings to prevent possible hospital-acquired infections and contamination of hospital surfaces including food contact surfaces by airborne contaminants.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Unit for Applied Food Science and -Biotechnology, Central University of Technology, Free State, Private Bag X 20539, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa. nmalebo@cut.ac.za.

ABSTRACT

Background: The role of bio-aerosols in the spread of disease and spoilage of food has been described in numerous studies; nevertheless this information at South African hospitals is limited. Attributable to their size, bio-aerosols may be suspended in the air for long periods placing patients at risk of infection and possibly settling on surfaces resulting in food contamination. The aim of the study is to assess the microbial composition of the air in the kitchen and selected wards at a typical district hospital in South Africa. Air samples were collected using the settle plates and an SAS Super 90 air sampler by impaction on agar. These microbial samples were quantified and identified using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and Analytic Profile Index (API).

Results: Microbial counts were found to be higher in the fourth (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds when compared to the first (≥2 cfu/m(-3)), second (≤3.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) and third (≤1.5 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds. Genera identified included Bacillus, Kocuria, Staphylococcus, Arthrobacter, Candida, Aureobasidium, Penicillium and Phoma amongst others. The presence of these pathogens is of concern, attributable to their ability to cause diseases in humans especially in those with suppressed host immunity defenses. Furthermore, fungal genera identified (e.g. Candida) in this study are also known to cause food spoilage and fungal infections in patients.

Conclusion: Results from this study indicate the importance of air quality monitoring in health-care settings to prevent possible hospital-acquired infections and contamination of hospital surfaces including food contact surfaces by airborne contaminants.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Cultivable airborne fungi isolated using (A) settling plates and (B) SAS-super 90 in (Kitchen area (1), male ward corridor (2), male ward room 3 (3), male ward room 4 (4), male ward room 5 (5), male ward TB room (6), female ward corridor (7), female ward room 40 (8), female ward preparation room (9) and diabetic female ward (10)).
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Figure 2: Cultivable airborne fungi isolated using (A) settling plates and (B) SAS-super 90 in (Kitchen area (1), male ward corridor (2), male ward room 3 (3), male ward room 4 (4), male ward room 5 (5), male ward TB room (6), female ward corridor (7), female ward room 40 (8), female ward preparation room (9) and diabetic female ward (10)).

Mentions: During sampling rounds, bacterial counts obtained using settle plates and SAS-Super 90 in both the kitchen area and wards (male and female) ranged between ≥ 2 cfu/m-3 for the first sampling round, ≤ 3.0 × 101 cfu/m-3 for the second sampling round, ≤ 1.5 × 101 cfu/m-3 for the third sampling round and ≤ 6.0 × 101 cfu/m-3 in the fourth sampling round (Figure 1). Generally, counts observed were higher when passive sampling was used in comparison to the active sampling (Figures 1 and 2). The differences observed using both sampling methods were statistically significant for the bacterial samples p = 0.0015 (Figure 1). The results were comparable with results observed elsewhere [15]. In the current study, the fourth sampling round using both sampling methods higher counts were observed when values were compared with those obtained in other sampling rounds (the first, second and third). This was due to increased human activity (e.g. large number of patients, personnel, and visitors occupying the hospital wards within a short period of time) in rooms as well as corridors while in the first three sampling rounds patients were discharged from the hospital thus there was less activity. The current results are similar to results observed in a study conducted in 2012 [15] where human activity resulted in higher total viable counts. Throughout the entire kitchen area (≤5.8 × 101 cfu/m-3), male (≤4.3 × 101 cfu/m-3) and female wards (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m-3) in the last round demonstrated high microbial levels (Figure 1) using both sampling methods. Airborne contaminants are usually introduced into the air through production of aerosol droplets by humans via coughing, sneezing and talking. Possible sources of bio-aerosols in hospitals are commonly patients, staff and hospital visitors [18] and results in the current study also indicate these as possible sources that may have led to an increase in bio-aerosol counts in the fourth rounds. However, no attempts were made in the current study to correlate air samples with clinical samples or with samples from other hospital occupants, which was a noted limitation in the current study.


Identification of airborne microbiota in selected areas in a health-care setting in South Africa.

Setlhare G, Malebo N, Shale K, Lues R - BMC Microbiol. (2014)

Cultivable airborne fungi isolated using (A) settling plates and (B) SAS-super 90 in (Kitchen area (1), male ward corridor (2), male ward room 3 (3), male ward room 4 (4), male ward room 5 (5), male ward TB room (6), female ward corridor (7), female ward room 40 (8), female ward preparation room (9) and diabetic female ward (10)).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4016773&req=5

Figure 2: Cultivable airborne fungi isolated using (A) settling plates and (B) SAS-super 90 in (Kitchen area (1), male ward corridor (2), male ward room 3 (3), male ward room 4 (4), male ward room 5 (5), male ward TB room (6), female ward corridor (7), female ward room 40 (8), female ward preparation room (9) and diabetic female ward (10)).
Mentions: During sampling rounds, bacterial counts obtained using settle plates and SAS-Super 90 in both the kitchen area and wards (male and female) ranged between ≥ 2 cfu/m-3 for the first sampling round, ≤ 3.0 × 101 cfu/m-3 for the second sampling round, ≤ 1.5 × 101 cfu/m-3 for the third sampling round and ≤ 6.0 × 101 cfu/m-3 in the fourth sampling round (Figure 1). Generally, counts observed were higher when passive sampling was used in comparison to the active sampling (Figures 1 and 2). The differences observed using both sampling methods were statistically significant for the bacterial samples p = 0.0015 (Figure 1). The results were comparable with results observed elsewhere [15]. In the current study, the fourth sampling round using both sampling methods higher counts were observed when values were compared with those obtained in other sampling rounds (the first, second and third). This was due to increased human activity (e.g. large number of patients, personnel, and visitors occupying the hospital wards within a short period of time) in rooms as well as corridors while in the first three sampling rounds patients were discharged from the hospital thus there was less activity. The current results are similar to results observed in a study conducted in 2012 [15] where human activity resulted in higher total viable counts. Throughout the entire kitchen area (≤5.8 × 101 cfu/m-3), male (≤4.3 × 101 cfu/m-3) and female wards (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m-3) in the last round demonstrated high microbial levels (Figure 1) using both sampling methods. Airborne contaminants are usually introduced into the air through production of aerosol droplets by humans via coughing, sneezing and talking. Possible sources of bio-aerosols in hospitals are commonly patients, staff and hospital visitors [18] and results in the current study also indicate these as possible sources that may have led to an increase in bio-aerosol counts in the fourth rounds. However, no attempts were made in the current study to correlate air samples with clinical samples or with samples from other hospital occupants, which was a noted limitation in the current study.

Bottom Line: Microbial counts were found to be higher in the fourth (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds when compared to the first (≥2 cfu/m(-3)), second (≤3.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) and third (≤1.5 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds.Furthermore, fungal genera identified (e.g. Candida) in this study are also known to cause food spoilage and fungal infections in patients.Results from this study indicate the importance of air quality monitoring in health-care settings to prevent possible hospital-acquired infections and contamination of hospital surfaces including food contact surfaces by airborne contaminants.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Unit for Applied Food Science and -Biotechnology, Central University of Technology, Free State, Private Bag X 20539, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa. nmalebo@cut.ac.za.

ABSTRACT

Background: The role of bio-aerosols in the spread of disease and spoilage of food has been described in numerous studies; nevertheless this information at South African hospitals is limited. Attributable to their size, bio-aerosols may be suspended in the air for long periods placing patients at risk of infection and possibly settling on surfaces resulting in food contamination. The aim of the study is to assess the microbial composition of the air in the kitchen and selected wards at a typical district hospital in South Africa. Air samples were collected using the settle plates and an SAS Super 90 air sampler by impaction on agar. These microbial samples were quantified and identified using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and Analytic Profile Index (API).

Results: Microbial counts were found to be higher in the fourth (≤6.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds when compared to the first (≥2 cfu/m(-3)), second (≤3.0 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) and third (≤1.5 × 101 cfu/m(-3)) sampling rounds. Genera identified included Bacillus, Kocuria, Staphylococcus, Arthrobacter, Candida, Aureobasidium, Penicillium and Phoma amongst others. The presence of these pathogens is of concern, attributable to their ability to cause diseases in humans especially in those with suppressed host immunity defenses. Furthermore, fungal genera identified (e.g. Candida) in this study are also known to cause food spoilage and fungal infections in patients.

Conclusion: Results from this study indicate the importance of air quality monitoring in health-care settings to prevent possible hospital-acquired infections and contamination of hospital surfaces including food contact surfaces by airborne contaminants.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus