The aim of this study was to establish a set of assessment methods suitable for evaluating the complex indoor environment of hospital wards and to ascertain the composition of bacteria and microbial ecology of hospital wards.


Colony-forming units (CFUs), PM2.5 detection, real-time PCR, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assay were employed to evaluate the complexity of indoor air in 18 wards of nine departments in a hospital and two student dormitories in a university. Subsequently, the microbial samples were quantified and identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS).


Although the studied indices were relatively independent, the PM2.5 content was correlated with bacterial CFUs determined by passive sedimentation method, bacterial and fungal counts measured by real-time PCR, and ATP bioluminescence assay. The composition of microorganisms in the air of hospital wards differed from that in the air of student dormitories. The dominant genera in hospital wards were Staphylococcus (39.4%), Micrococcus (21.9%), Corynebacterium (11.7%), Kocuria(4.4%), Bacillus (2.9%), Streptococcus (1.6%), Moraxella (1.6%), and Enterococcus(1.3%), and the microbial ecology differed between Respiration Dept. III and other hospital departments. Additionally, 11.1 and 27.3% of bacteria in hospital wards and student dormitories were not identified, respectively.


Assessment of environmental quality of hospital wards should be based on comprehensive analysis with multiple indicators. There may be imbalances in the microbial diversity in the hospital wards, therefore, monitoring of the environmental quality of hospitals is important in the prevention of nosocomial infections.


Credit: David Trinks

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Citation:  Ling and Hui BMC Infectious Diseases (2019) 19:646