Research Output
Is there an association between airborne and surface microbes in the critical care environment?
There are few data and no accepted standards for air quality in the intensive care unit (ICU). Any relationship between airborne pathogens and hospital-acquired infection (HAI) risk in the ICU remains unknown.
First, to correlate environmental contamination of air and surfaces in the ICU; second, to examine any association between environmental contamination and ICU-acquired staphylococcal infection.
Patients, air, and surfaces were screened on 10 sampling days in a mechanically ventilated 10-bed ICU for a 10-month period. Near-patient hand-touch sites (N = 500) and air (N = 80) were screened for total colony count and Staphylococcus aureus. Air counts were compared with surface counts according to proposed standards for air and surface bioburden. Patients were monitored for ICU-acquired staphylococcal infection throughout.
Overall, 235 of 500 (47%) surfaces failed the standard for aerobic counts (≤2.5 cfu/cm2). Half of passive air samples (20/40: 50%) failed the ‘index of microbial air’ contamination (2 cfu/9 cm plate/h), and 15/40 (37.5%) active air samples failed the clean air standard (

  • Type:


  • Date:

    09 April 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    614 Incidence & prevention of disease

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Smith, J., Adams, C., King, M., Noakes, C., Robertson, C., & Dancer, S. (2018). Is there an association between airborne and surface microbes in the critical care environment?. Journal of Hospital Infection,



Hospital-acquired infection, Hospital environment, Air, Bacterial transmission, Environmental contamination, Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA

Monthly Views:

Available Documents