Identification and characteristics of biological agents in work environment of medical emergency services in selected ambulances
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Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Puławy, Poland (Biological Threats Identification and Countermeasure Center)
Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Warszawa, Poland (Laboratory of Epidemiology)
Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland (Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Environmental Microbiology)
University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Lublin, Poland (Faculty of Agrobioengineering, Department of Environmental Microbiology, Laboratory of Mycology)
Medical University of Warsaw, Warszawa, Poland (Pathology Department, Biostructure Centre)
Online publication date: 2017-04-25
Corresponding author
Agata Bielawska-Drózd   

Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Biological Threats Identification and Countermeasure Center, Lubelska 2, 24-100 Puławy, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2017;30(4):617-27
Objectives: Assessment of microbial air quality and surface contamination in ambulances and administration offices as a control place without occupational exposure to biological agents; based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of bacteria, yeasts and filamentous fungi found in collected samples. Material and Methods: The sampling was done by wet cyclone technology using the Coriolis recon apparatus, imprint and swab methods, respectively. In total, 280 samples from 28 ambulances and 10 offices in Warszawa were tested. Data was analyzed using Shapiro-Wilk normality test, Kruskal-Wallis test with α = 0.05. P value ≤ 0.05 was considered as significant. Results: The levels of air contamination were from 0 to 2.3×101 colony-forming unit (CFU)/m3 for bacteria and for yeast and filamentous fungi were from 0 to 1.8×101 CFU/m3. The assessment of office space air samples has shown the following numbers of microorganisms: bacteria from 3.0×101 to 4.2×101 CFU/m3 and yeast and filamentous fungi from 0 to 1.9×101 CFU/m3. For surface contamination the mean bacterial count in ambulances has been between 1.0×101 and 1.3×102 CFU/25 cm2 and in offices – between 1.1×101 and 8.5×101 CFU/25 cm2. Mean fungal count has reached the level from 2.8×100 to 4.2×101 CFU/25 cm2 in ambulances and 1.3×101 to 5.8×101 CFU/25 cm2 in offices. The qualitative analysis has revealed the presence of Acinetobacter spp. (surfaces), coagulase – negative Staphylococci (air and surfaces), Aspergillus and Penicillium genera (air and surfaces). Conclusions: The study has revealed a satisfactory microbiological quantity of analyzed air and surface samples in both study and control environments. However, the presence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in the air and on surfaces in ambulances may endanger the medical emergency staff and patients with infection. Disinfection and cleaning techniques therefore should be constantly developed and implemented. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(4):617–627
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