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Keywords:

  • Invasive aspergillosis;
  • six-stage Andersen® sampler;
  • Aspergillus spp;
  • COPD

Summary

Invasive aspergillosis (IA) seems to be an emerging condition in intensive care units (ICUs). However, little attention has been given to the role of environmental factors that could increase the risk for IA in the ICU. The objective of this study was to determine the concentration of airborne fungi in three Brazilian ICUs, in an attempt to correlate fungal burden with the frequency of Aspergillus spp isolation from clinical samples of patients hospitalised in these units. During a 1-year period we quantitatively evaluated the presence of fungi in the air of three ICUs in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The quantity of fungi was correlated with environmental factors. Only one of the ICUs studied showed equal concentrations of Aspergillus conidia in the indoor air, in comparison with the outdoor environment. All cases of Aspergillus colonisation and IA cases observed during the study occurred in that particular ICU. Environmental factors have a direct influence on fungal spore concentration in the air in ICUs, as well as air filtration systems in air conditioners. Fungal contamination of the indoor air may influence the frequency of AI in ICU patients.