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Sources and dynamics of fluorescent particles in hospitals

M L Pereira, L D Knibbs, C He, P Grzybowski, G R Johnson, J A Huffman, S C Bell, C E Wainwright, D L Matte, F H Dominski, A Andrade, L Morawska
Indoor Air 2017, 27 (5): 988-1000
Fluorescent particles can be markers of bioaerosols and are therefore relevant to nosocomial infections. To date, little research has focused on fluorescent particles in occupied indoor environments, particularly hospitals. In this study, we aimed to determine the spatial and temporal variation of fluorescent particles in two large hospitals in Brisbane, Australia (one for adults and one for children). We used an Ultraviolet Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (UVAPS) to identify fluorescent particle sources, as well as their contribution to total particle concentrations. We found that the average concentrations of both fluorescent and non-fluorescent particles were higher in the adults' hospital (0.06×10(6) and 1.20×10(6)  particles/m(3) , respectively) than in the children's hospital (0.03×10(6) and 0.33×10(6)  particles/m(3) , respectively) (P<.01). However, the proportion of fluorescent particles was higher in the children's hospital. Based on the concentration results and using activity diaries, we were able to identify sources of particle production within the two hospitals. We demonstrated that particles can be easily generated by a variety of everyday activities, which are potential sources of exposure to pathogens. Future studies to further investigate their role in nosocomial infection are warranted.


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