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Assessment of the Levels of Airborne Bacteria, Gram-Negative Bacteria, and Fungi in Hospital Lobbies

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph10020541

Keywords: hospital lobby, bacteria, fungi, Gram-negative bacteria (GNB)

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Abstract:

Aims: We assessed the levels of airborne bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria (GNB), and fungi in six hospital lobbies, and investigated the environmental and hospital characteristics that affected the airborne microorganism levels. Methods: An Andersen single-stage sampler equipped with appropriate nutrition plate agar was used to collect the samples. The three types of microorganisms were repeatedly collected at a fixed location in each hospital (assumed to be representative of the entire hospital lobby) from 08:00 through 24:00, with a sampling time of less than 5 min. Temperature and relative humidity were simultaneously monitored. Results: Multiple regression analysis was used to identify the major factors affecting microorganism levels. The average levels of bacteria (7.2?×?10 2 CFU/m 3), GNB (1.7 × 10 CFU/m 3), and fungi (7.7 × 10 CFU/m 3) indicated that all hospital lobbies were generally contaminated. Season was the only factor that significantly affected the levels of all microorganisms ( p < 0.0001), where contamination was the highest during the summer, significantly higher than during the winter. Other significant factors varied by microorganism, as follows: airborne bacteria (number of people in the lobby, sampling time), GNB (scale of hospital), and fungi (humidity and air temperature). Conclusions: Hospital lobby air was generally contaminated with microorganisms, including bacteria, GNB, and fungi. Environmental factors that may significantly influence the airborne concentrations of these agents should be managed to minimize airborne levels.

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