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Open AccessArticle

Microbiological Air Quality in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems of Surgical and Intensive Care Areas: The Application of a Disinfection Procedure for Dehumidification Devices

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Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Via San Zeno 35-39, 56123 Pisa, Italy
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Department of Public Health and Hygiene, Azienda USL Toscana Nord Ovest, 56100 Pisa, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2019, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8010008
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Waterborne/Foodborne/Airborne Pathogens)
International literature data report that the increase of infectious risk may be due to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems contaminated by airborne pathogens. Moreover, the presence of complex rotating dehumidification wheels (RDWs) may complicate the cleaning and disinfection procedures of the HVAC systems. We evaluated the efficacy of a disinfection strategy applied to the RDW of two hospitals’ HVAC systems. Hospitals have four RDW systems related to the surgical areas (SA1 and SA2) and to the intensive and sub-intensive care (IC and sIC) units. Microbiological air and surface analyses were performed in HVAC systems, before and after the disinfection treatment. Hydrogen peroxide (12%) with silver ions (10 mg/L) was aerosolized in all the air sampling points, located close to the RDW device. After the air disinfection procedure, reductions of total microbial counts at 22 °C and molds were achieved in SA2 and IC HVAC systems. An Aspergillus fumigatus contamination (6 CFU/500 L), detected in one air sample collected in the IC HVAC system, was eradicated after the disinfection. The surface samples proved to be of good microbiological quality. The results suggest the need for a disinfection procedure to improve the microbiological quality of the complex HVAC systems, mostly in surgical and intensive care areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: HVAC; Aspergillus spp.; hydrogen peroxide; air disinfection HVAC; Aspergillus spp.; hydrogen peroxide; air disinfection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Totaro, M.; Costa, A.L.; Casini, B.; Profeti, S.; Gallo, A.; Frendo, L.; Porretta, A.; Valentini, P.; Privitera, G.; Baggiani, A. Microbiological Air Quality in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems of Surgical and Intensive Care Areas: The Application of a Disinfection Procedure for Dehumidification Devices. Pathogens 2019, 8, 8.

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