Bacterial Contamination of Intensive Care Unit and Other Specialized Units in Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital

Shaimaa M.S. Zainulabdeen
Department Of Biology, AL-Muthanna University, AL-Muthanna University, Al-Muthanna University, Iraq, Iraq

Published on: 2020-04-02


This prospective study aims to identify and compare the incidence of bacterial contamination of hospital units and the distribution of species responsible for the contamination. The study has examined the level of bacterial contamination in these specialized care units in Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital. A total of 270 isolates have been collected and analyzed, 53.7% (n=145) were positive for bacterial growth and Pseudomonas aeruginosa approximately predominate in all the units sampled followed by Staphylococcus aureus 22% (n=32), Enterobacter spp. 20% (n=29), Escherichia coli 14% (n=20), Klebsiella pneumonia 11% (n=16), Acinetobacter spp. 3.4% (n=5), Citrobacter spp. 1.4% (n=2) and the least were Enterococcus spp. and Proteus spp. 0.7% (n=1). The relatively low level of bacterial contamination of the air compared to the high level with equipment and objects indicates the need for periodic microbiological surveillance aimed at early detection of bacterial contamination level. 


Bacterial contamination, Operating theatre, Burn unit, Intensive care unit, Recovery room


Microbial contamination is the most influential parameter in health care environments. In the hospital environment, especially the operating theatre and other specialized units had continued to increase the prevalence of nosocomial infection [1,2]. With the resultant effect of high morbidity and mortality rate among patients on admission for post-operative surgery, those in intensive care units with multidrug resistant strain like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and difficulty in infection control [3]. In a hospital setting, reduction of microbial contamination impact depends primarily on improved cleaning and proper disinfection of the hospital environment, especially high-risk areas, as these measures are crucial to stemming down the dissemination of these microbial contaminations. Source of microbial contamination is diverse, from surgical/medical team, movement within the units, theatre gown, foot wares, gloves and hands, drainage of the wounds, transportation of patients and collection bags [4]. 

It was previously shown that stethoscopes, white coats, keyboards, faucets, mobile phones, writing pens, case notes, medical charts, and even wristwatches can be contaminated by environmental or pathologic microorganisms such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumonia. [5,6]. Such opportunistic or causative pathogens can be found on the surfaces of these personal belongings and facilities within the wards [7-9]. 

The intensive care units (ICU) is often called the epicenter of opportunistic infections with 25% of all healthcare-associated infections (HAI) occurring in ICU patients, resulting in increased morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs [10,11]. ICU patients have an increased risk of HAI due to their underlying conditions, impaired immunity, exposure to multiple invasive devices that bypass and disrupt patients’ protective barriers (for example, urinary catheters), and the administration of drugs that can predispose patients to infection [12], however, there are few studies on bacterial contamination of hospital medical charts, and two of these reports are a brief report and a letter, respectively [13], therefore, the present study measures bacterial concentrations in different units in the hospital.

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