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To evaluate efficacy of laminar airflow facilities plus high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and HEPA filtration alone in preventing environmental Aspergillus contamination during hospital renovation. To show the usefulness of environmental surveillance to facilitate protection of patients at risk for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.
Prospective sampling of air and surfaces for Aspergillus conidia during 2-year period.
A hematological department adjacent to building renovation at a university hospital.
1,047 air samples and 1,178 surface samples were collected from January 1996 to December 1997. Significantly more air samples were positive for Aspergillus species during the period of building renovation than during the periods before and after renovation in a unit without a protected air supply adjacent to the building work area (51.5% vs 31.7%; odds ratio [OR], 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI95, 1.4-3.7; P<.001). A major increase in the frequency of positive air samples was also found in another adjacent unit that was protected with HEPA filtration alone (from 1.8% to 47.5%; OR, 48.9; CI95,12-229; P<10-7). In addition, in this unit, the mean count of Aspergillus conidia in positive air samples increased significantly during construction (4 colony-forming units [CFU]/m3 to 24.7 CFU/m3; P=.04) and the proportion of positive surface samples showed a significant increase during renovation (from 0.4% to 9.7%; OR, 28.3; CI95, 3.4-623; P=104). However, none of 142 air samples collected during renovation in the area protected with laminar airflow plus HEPA filtration showed Aspergillus conidia. In a unit distant from the building renovation site, the results of air and surface samples were not affected by renovation.
This study showed a strong association between building renovation and an increase in environmental Aspergillus contamination. Results confirmed the high efficacy of laminar airflow plus HEPA filtration and a high air-change rate. Although filtration with HEPA was effective during normal conditions, it alone was unable to prevent the rise of Aspergillus contamination related to building renovation. This study emphasized the necessity of an environmental survey of airborne contamination related to construction, to facilitate prevention of nosocomial aspergillosis outbreaks. A standardized protocol for aerobiological surveillance is needed.
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