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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(2), 541-555; doi:10.3390/ijerph10020541

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

1,* , 2,3, 3 and 1,4
1 Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Seoul, 110-791, Korea 2 Hanbul Energy Manufacturing, Sampyeong-Dong, Bundang-Gu, Gyeonggido, 463-413, Korea 3 Department of Global Healthcare Management, Gachon University, Gyeonggido, 461-701, Korea 4 Institute for Occupational Health & Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, 120-752, Korea
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 16 January 2013 / Published: 31 January 2013
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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 × 102 CFU/m3), GNB (1.7 × 10 CFU/m3), and fungi (7.7 × 10 CFU/m3) 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.
Keywords: hospital lobby; bacteria; fungi; Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) hospital lobby; bacteria; fungi; Gram-negative bacteria (GNB)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Park, D.-U.; Yeom, J.-K.; Lee, W.J.; Lee, K.-M. Assessment of the Levels of Airborne Bacteria, Gram-Negative Bacteria, and Fungi in Hospital Lobbies. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 541-555.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert