Send to

Choose Destination
Child Care Health Dev. 2007 Jul;33(4):491-5.

Microbial contamination of nebulizers in the home treatment of cystic fibrosis.

Author information

Kathy and Lee Graub Cystic Fibrosis Center, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Petah Tikva, Israel.



Home nebulizers are in widespread use in cystic fibrosis (CF) and other chronic pulmonary diseases. Bacterial contamination may be a source of respiratory tract colonization.


To investigate microbial contamination of home nebulizers in CF patients, compare with sputum cultures and relate to cleaning practices.


A total of 29 home nebulizers of CF patients were cultured. Families were interviewed regarding cleaning routines and patients had sputum cultures for bacteria and fungi.


In total, 19/29 (65%) nebulizers were contaminated: 18 reservoir cups, 14 mouthpieces and five filters. Pseudomonas spp. were isolated from 10 nebulizers (35%) and all 10 had Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection although without genetic typing we could not be sure this was the same bacteria as that from their nebulizer unit. An additional 7/29 had Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection without a contaminated nebulizer (P=0.001). No nebulizers were contaminated with Aspergillus. Only 4/19 contaminated nebulizers (22%) had been cleaned after every use, compared with seven of the 10 (70%) uncontaminated nebulizers (P=0.017). Only 7/19 patients with contaminated nebulizers (37%) and 5/10 with clean nebulizers (50%) recalled receiving cleaning instructions (not significant).


Home nebulizers are frequently contaminated, particularly when cleaning instructions are inadequate, and may be a source of airway infection or reinfection especially following contamination from a patient chronically colonized with P. aeruginosa. Simple oral and written cleaning instructions should be offered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center