Assessment of the Indoor Microbial Air Quality of A Tertiary Healthcare Institution

Main Article Content

C. Chikwem
C. Nwakanma


This study investigated the presence and concentrations of airborne bacteria and fungi in the indoor environment of a tertiary healthcare institution in South-Eastern Nigeria using the following sampling sites: Accident and emergency ward (A and E), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Main Operating Theatre (MT), Microbiology Laboratory (ML), Surgical Ward (SW) and Administrative Department (AD) which was the control. The indoor temperatures and relative humidity of the sites were also measured and assessed in relation to the level of indoor microbial air contamination. The results were then compared with indoor microbial air quality (IMAQ) standards for indoor hospital environments. Mean bacterial Total Viable Counts exceeded accepted limits in all the sampled sites both during the morning (A and E: 747CFUs, AD: 388CFUs, ICU: 388CFUs, MT: 546CFUs, ML: 905CFUs, and SW: 603CFUs) and afternoon periods (A and E: 618CFUs, AD: 661CFUs, ICU: 259CFUs, MT: 216CFUs, ML: 661CFUs, and SW: 503CFUs) while Mean fungal TVCs exceeded accepted limits in four of the six sampled locations both during the morning (A and E: 259CFUs, AD: 402CFUs, ML: 445CFUs, and SW: 216CFUs) and afternoon periods (A and E; 172CFUs, AD: 302CFUs, ML: 503CFUs and SW: 273CFUs). This may be as a result of overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, and high temperatures prevalent in those locations throughout the sampling period, the inadequacy of the cleaning agents in terms of their bactericidal or bacteriostatic activity, as well as surgical smoke emitted from surgical energy devices. Thus, the IMAQ levels of studied hospital were not satisfactory. It is therefore recommended that conscious and concerted efforts be made to minimize indoor microbial air contamination and ensure that good IMAQ is maintained within the Hospital environment.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chikwem, C., & Nwakanma, C. (2021). Assessment of the Indoor Microbial Air Quality of A Tertiary Healthcare Institution. The Bioscientist Journal, 9(1), 24-37. Retrieved from


ACGIH (1989). Guidelines for the Assessment About Aerosols in the Indoor Environment. In Asif, A., Zeeshan, M.; Hashmi, I.; Zahid, U., and Bhatti, M.F. (2018). Microbial Quality Assessment of indoor air in a large hospital building during winter and spring seasons. Journal of Building and Environment 135 (2018):68-73.
Agbagwa, O.E. and Onyemaechi, S.A. (2014). Microbiological Quality of indoor air of a general hospital and a health center in Rivers State, Nigeria. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences 3(12): 423-431.
ASHE (2016). Indoor Air Quality for Health Care Facilities. Retrieved from on April, 8, 2019.
Asif, A.; Zeeshan, M.; Hashmi, I.; Zahid, U., and Bhatti, M.F. (2018). Microbial Quality Assessment of indoor air in a large hospital building during winter and spring seasons. Journal of Building and Environment 135 (2018):68-73.
Awad, A.H. and Mawla, H.A. (2012). Sedimentation with the Omeliansky Formula as an Accepted Technique for Qualifying Airborne Fungi. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 21(6):1539-1541.
Bensch, K.; Groenewald, J.Z.; Meijer, M.; Dijksterhuis, J; Jurjevic, Z.; Andersen, B.; Houbraken, J.; Crous, P. W.; and Samson, R.A. (2018). Cladosporium species in indoor environments. Studies in Mycology 89: 177-301.
Cheesbrough, M. (2006). District Laboratory Practice in Tropical Countries. Part 2. Cambridge University Press, UK. Pp. 32-190.
El-Sharkawy, M.F. and Noweir, M.E.H (2014). Indoor Air Quality levels in a University Hospital in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. J. Family and Community Med., 21(1):39-47.
Emuren, K. and Ordinioha, B. (2016). Microbiological Assessment of Indoor Air Quality at different sites of a tertiary hospital in South-South Nigeria. Port Harcourt Medical Journal 10:79-84.
F.M.C. Umuahia (2018). FMC Umuahia: HISTORY. Retrieved from http://www. on April 8, 2019.
Guns, J.; Janssens, R.; and Vercammen, M. (2013). Chapter2: Air Quality Management, In Nagy, Z.P.; Varghese, A.C.; Agarwal, A. (Eds). Building and Managing an IVF Laboratory: A Practical Guide. Springer Science + Business Media, New York.
Ige, O.K.; Adesanmi, A.A. and Asuzu, M.C. (2011). Hospital acquired infections in a Nigerian Tertiary Health Facility: An audit of surveillance reports. Nigerian Medical Journal 52(4):239-243.
McCormick, P.W. (2008). Bovie Smoke: A Perilous Plume. AANS Neurosurgeon 17 (1):10-12.
Mold Help Organization. Penicillium. Retrieved from on June 29, 2019.
Mowbray, M., Ansell, J., Warren, N., Wall, P. and Torkington, J. (2013). Is surgical smoke harmful to theater staff? A systematic review. Surgical Endoscopy 27:3100-3107.
Nejad, S.B.; Allegranzi, B.; Syed, S.B.; Ellis, B and Pittet, D. (2011). Healthcare associated infection in Africa: a systematic review. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 89:757-765. Retrieved from https// 89/10/11-088179/en/ on April 8, 2019.
Pasquarella, C.; Pitzurra, O.; and Savino, A. (2000). The index of microbial air contaminants: A Review. Journal of Hospital Infection 46:241-256.
Pati, P. (2018). Review on Common Microbiological Contamination Found in Hospital Air. Journal of Microbiology and Pathology 2(s1):1-5.
USEPA (2017). Report on the Environment: Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from
USEPA (2018). Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from on April, 8, 2019
USEPA, American Lung Association, United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, American Medical Association (2015). Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals. Retrieved on May 7, 2019.
Ward, J. (2019). Penicillium. Retrieved from June 9, 2019.
WHO Regional Office for Europe (1990). Indoor air quality: Biological contaminants. Retrieved from on April, 8, 2019
WHO Regional Office for Europe (2010). WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: Selected pollutants. Retrieved from on April, 8, 2019