Air Conditioners as a Source of Bacterial Contamination in an Indoor Environment
Authors: Hind M. Khalfallah, Omar M. Abukhres, Ali F. Hawad, Ibrahim A.Mukhtar, Hussien A. Alrasheed
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The objectives of this study were to assess the bacterial content of air conditioning and indoor air of some hospitals in the south of Libya. This study was conducted in a 2nd of March hospital and Brack general hospital in southern Libya. Samples were collected from indoor air, and from filters, cooling coils, and water drainage basins of air conditioning units in those hospitals. Bacterial colonies were counted and identified characteristics of the bacteria on blood agar and MacConkey agar, also identified bacterial species. Bacterial numbers in the samples taken from 2nd March hospital formed 56.57% of the total indoor air samples, 79.9% of the total filters samples, 72.07% of the total coils samples, and 54.63% of the total water samples. The bacterial numbers in samples taken from a Brack general hospital contained 43.43% of the total indoor air samples, 20.1% of the total filter samples, 27.93% of the total coils samples, and 45.37% of the total water samples. Hemolytic bacteria were present in smaller numbers on blood agar than non-hemolytic bacteria, and were presenting more non-fermented at a higher rate than fermented bacteria on MacConkey. The bacterial species that were identified included some species of pathogenic bacteria as S.aureus, which existed in the various samples, K. pneumonae, Bacillus and Pseudomonas, those species involved in nosocomial infections.
Conclusion: The occurrence of high bacterial numbers on parts of air-conditioning followed by its spread to the internal environment which constitutes a health risk to people exposed to it especially if this environment are the hospitals where patients with various injuries.