Aspergillus spp. prevalence in Primary Health Care Centres: Assessment by a novel multi-approach sampling protocol.


H&TRC- Health & Technology Research Center, ESTeSL- Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, Portugal; Centro de Investigação em Saúde Pública, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal. Electronic address: [Email]


Exposure to Aspergillus conidia may cause adverse effects on human health; however, no specific recommendations for routine assessments of Aspergillus in the clinical environment have been suggested so far. This study intended to determine the prevalence of Aspergillus in the clinical environment, focusing on ten Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC) through a novel multi-approach sampling protocol. Air and passive sampling, culture-based methods and a probe-based real-time assay for the detection of four clinically relevant Aspergillus sections were performed. Aspergillus spp. was observed in all PHCC, with highest prevalence on floor surface swabs (n=81) (18% on MEA; 6.94% on DG18). Regarding air samples (n=81), highest Aspergillus counts were found in the waiting room (94% MEA; 18% DG18), where Nigri was the most prevalent Aspergillus section. The use of a multi-approach sampling protocol to assess Aspergillus burden in the analysed PHCC has greatly contributed to risk characterization, highlighting the need to implement corrective measures in order to avoid fungal presence in those settings.


Aspergillus,Culture based-methods,Molecular tools,Multi-approach sampling protocol,