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Diversity and Distribution Patterns of Airborne Microfungi in Indoor and Outdoor Hospital Environments in Khorramabad, Southwest Iran

Keywords: Allergens , Fungi , Aeroallergens , Cladosporium , Penicillium , Hospitals

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Abstract:

Background: Nosocomial fungal infections could arise from independent exposure to airborne spores of filamentous fungi existing in the hospital environment..Objectives: The present study aimed to determine the mycoflora of indoor and outdoor environments of five major hospitals in Khorramabad, Iran. .Materials and Methods: Sampling of air was done from indoor and outdoor environments of wards, surroundings and green space of hospitals by settle plate method. To obtain the sample from surfaces, pre-moistened swabs with cotton-tipped sticks were applied on different surfaces (floor, the walls, windows, beds, trolleys, laryngoscope and angiography devices). Culture plates of air and surfaces on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) and Malt Extract Agar (MEA) were incubated in the dark at 28 oC and examined daily for fungal colonies for two to three weeks. Fungal isolates were identified by a combination of their macroscopic and microscopic criteria after purification on isolation culture media..Results: A total of 707 fungal colonies including, Penicillium (29.14%), Cladosporium (24.04%), Aspergillus (20.65%), Fusarium (9.05%), Alternaria (3.96%), Rhodotorula (1.69%), Cryptococcus neoformans (0.7%) and other fungi (10.77%) were isolated. All the examined high-risk parts of the hospitals were found to be contaminated by various fungi. .Conclusions: Aspergillus was the most prominent genus in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and surgery, Cladosporium in Critical Care Unit (CCU), emergency and thalassemia, and Penicillium in orthopedic, emergency and neonatal sections. Among pathogenic yeasts, C. neoformans was isolated from ICU, surgery and orthopedic sections. The dimorphic fungal pathogen, Sporothrix schenckii, was reported from CCU. The isolated fungi specially the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium are potential threats for immunocompromised patients in the hospitals.

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