Surveillance of waterborne Aspergillus in a Portuguese University Hospital

R. Araujo,1 C. Pina-Vaz1 and A. G. Rodrigues2

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1Faculty of Medicine, Microbiology, Porto, Portugal and 2Faculty of Medicine and Hospital S. Joao, Anesthesiology, Porto, Portugal


Aspergillus species cause serious infections among immunocompromised and transplant patients. Water has been described as a possible route of infections caused by Aspergillus. Our objective was to quantify Aspergillus in water supplied to hospital wards, intensive care units and operating theatres of a University Hospital during the summer (four consecutive weeks from 23 June to 22 July of 2004) and the autumn (four consecutive weeks from 22 September to 15 October of 2004). Cold and hot water supplied to 16 rooms was evaluated in this study, corresponding to two operating theatres, four intensive care units, two hematological units and 10 common wards. From operating theatres, samples of sterile (filtered) water used for washing hands of medical personal were also collected. Water quality was studied by analysis of 500 ml of water filtered through cellulose membranes of 0.22 lm. Membranes were incubated in DG18 culture medium during 10 days, at 37 C. Water samples were not commonly contaminated with Aspergillus species. A. fumigatus, A. flavus and A. niger were rarely isolated from water samples and were never detected in water from the same room in consecutive weeks. No other Aspergillus species were detected. No significant difference was found comparing between cold and hot water. Filtered water from operating theatres never presented any contamination with Aspergillus species. It is possible to detect occasionally in hospital water some Aspergillus strains that may cause, in last instance, infections in high-risk patients. However, it is difficult to consider water an important route for infections in our Hospital. The use of filters may limit this route, preventing further infectious. Acknowledgment: This study was supported by grant no. 60901 from Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian.

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Full conference title: 

2nd Trends in Medical Mycology
    • TIMM 2nd (2010)