The impact of aerators on water contamination by emerging gram-negative opportunists in at-risk hospital departments

Maria Luisa Cristina, Anna Maria Spagnolo, Beatrice Casini, Angelo Baggiani, Pietro Del Giudice, Silvio Brusaferro, Andrea Poscia, Umberto Moscato, Fernanda Perdelli, Paolo Orlando

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

33 Citazioni (Scopus)


Objective. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of aerators on water microbiological contamination in at-risk hospital departments, with a view to quantifying the possible risk of patient exposure to waterborne microorganisms. Design. We analyzed the microbiological and chemical-physical characteristics of hot and cold water in some critical hospital departments. Setting. Two hospitals in northern Italy. Methods. We took 304 water samples over a 1-year period, at 3-month intervals, from taps used by healthcare personnel for handwashing, surgical washing, and the washing of medical equipment. We analyzed heterotrophic plate counts (HPCs) at 36°C and 22°C, nonfastidious gram-negative bacteria (GNB-NE), and Legionella pneumophila. Results. The percentages of positivity and mean values of HPCs at 22°C, HPCs at 36°C, and GNB-NE loads were significantly higher at outlet points than in the plumbing system. In particular, GNB-NE positivity was higher at outlet points than in the plumbing system in both the cold water (31.58% vs 6.58% of samples were positive) and hot water (21.05% vs 3.95%) supplies. Our results also revealed contamination by L. pneumophila both in the plumbing system and at outlet points, with percentages of positive samples varying according to the serogroup examined (serogroups 1 and 2-14). The mean concentrations displayed statistically significant (P < .001) differences between the outlet points (27,382.89 ± 42,245.33 colony-forming units [cfu]/L) and the plumbing system (19,461.84 ± 29,982.11 cfu/L). Conclusions. These results reveal a high level of contamination of aerators by various species of gram-negative opportunists that are potentially very dangerous for immunocompromised patients and, therefore, the need to improve the management of these devices
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)121-129
Numero di pagine9
RivistaInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
VolumeVol. 35
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • hospital infection
  • waterborne pathogens


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