To examine the impact of cleaning and directional airflow on environmental contamination with Aspergillus species in hospital rooms filtered with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that house patients with hematologic malignancy.
Detailed environmental assessment.
A 475-bed tertiary cancer center in the southern United States.
From April to October 2004, 1,258 surface samples and 627 bioaerosol samples were obtained from 74 HEPA-filtered rooms (in addition, 88 outdoor bioaerosol samples were obtained). Samples were collected from rooms cleaned within 1 hour after patient discharge and from rooms before cleaning. Positive and negative airflows were evaluated using air-current tubes at entrances to patient rooms.
Of 1,258 surface samples, 3.3% were positive for Aspergillus species. Univariate analysis showed no relationship between cleaning status and occurrence of Aspergillus species. Of 627 bioaerosol samples, 7.3% were positive for Aspergillus species. Multiple logistic analysis revealed independently significant associations with detection of Aspergillus species. Cleaned rooms positive for Aspergillus species had a higher geometric mean density of colonies than that of rooms sampled before cleaning (18.9 vs 5.5 colony-forming units [cfu] per cubic meter; P = .0047). Rooms with positive airflow had a detection rate for bioaerosol samples equivalent to that of rooms with negative airflow (7.3% vs 7.8%; P = .8). There was no significant difference in the density of Aspergillus species between rooms with negative airflow and rooms with positive airflow (12.5 vs 8.4 cfu/m3; P = .33).
Concentration of bioaerosol contamination with Aspergillus species was increased in rooms sampled 1 hour after cleaning compared with rooms sampled before cleaning, suggesting a possible correlation between reentrained bioaerosols (ie, those suspended by activity in the room) after cleaning and the risk of nosocomial invasive aspergillosis.