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An investigation of fungal contamination in a hospital setting.

Johnson M; Rao C; Kreiss K
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :64
An investigation was conducted at an 8-story hospital due to a reported cluster of work-related asthma on the eighth floor of the facility. There has been ongoing renovation throughout the building for the past 5 years. The occupants reported occasional severe water damage from roof leaks. Although, there were no obvious signs of mold contamination, fungi were suspected because of the occupant complaints and the historical water damage. A survey for fungal contamination was conducted on the two top floors of the facility. Spore trap sampling was performed inside the wall and in the ambient indoor air. Bulk samples of the ceiling were analyzed for fungal growth. The bulk sample analyses showed extensive fungal contamination (Cladosporium elatum and Geomyces pannorum) on the ceiling material. The in-wall spore concentrations ranged from 5.3 x 10(2) to 5.3 x 19(5) spores/m3 (primarily of the genera Aspergillus/Penicillium, Geomyces and Cladosporium). Ambient indoor air concentrations ranged from 1.1 x 10(2) to 3.6 X 10(3) spores/m3 in which the genera Cladosporium and Geomyces accounted for 30 to 60% of the total spore counts. We documented inter-floor pathways for migration of fungal spores between the wall cavities, the ceiling cavities and the occupied space. Spore concentration in the elevator was 3.6 x 10(3) spores/m3, the highest quiescent ambient air level found in the facility. The elevator may have been a significant fungal pathway between floors. Our findings support the need for aggressive source and pathway identification even in the absence of visible mold or water damage.
Medical-facilities; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Fungi; Molds; Indoor-air-pollution; Work-environment; Work-areas; Sampling; Statistical-analysis; Microorganisms; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Indoor-air-pollution; Indoor-environmental-quality
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division