Fungal spore concentrations in two haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) units containing distinct air control systems

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Invasive fungal diseases have emerged as important causes of morbidity and mortality in haematological patients. In this study air samples were collected in two haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) units, in which distinct air-control systems were in place. In hospital 1 no high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter was available whereas in hospital 2 HSCT rooms were equipped with HEPA filters, with positive air pressure in relation to the corridor. A total of 117 samples from rooms, toilets and corridors were obtained during December 2009 to January 2011, using a six-stage Andersen sampler. In both hospitals, the concentration of potentially pathogenic fungi in the air was reduced in patients' rooms compared to corridors (P < 0·0001). Despite the presence of a HEPA filter in hospital 2, rooms in both hospitals showed similar concentrations of potentially pathogenic fungi (P = 0·714). These findings may be explained by the implementation of additional protective measures in hospital 1, emphasizing the importance of such measures in protected environments.

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