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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1998 Dec;19(12):918-23.

Detection of Bordetella pertussis and respiratory synctial virus in air samples from hospital rooms.

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University of California, Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, USA.



To evaluate the distribution of Bordetella pertussis and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the hospital setting.


Air samples were collected using filters in the hospital rooms of 12 children with pertussis and 27 children with RSV infection. Material eluted from these filters was subjected to RSV- and B pertussis-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification.


Patients were hospitalized in private rooms in one of two referral centers, a university teaching hospital and a university-affiliated private children's hospital.


12 children (16 days-3 years of age) with documented pertussis infection and 27 patients (10 days-7 years of age) with documented RSV infection.


B pertussis DNA was detected in 7 (58%) of 12 rooms housing pertussis patients and in 16 (25%) of 63 total samples. B pertussis DNA was detected as far as 4 m away from the patient's bedside. The detection of B pertussis DNA in air samples did not change over the short duration of hospitalization. RSV RNA was detected in 17 (63%) of 27 rooms housing RSV-infected patients and in 32 (22%) of 143 total samples. RSV RNA was detected at distances as far as 7 m from the patient's bedside and for up to 7 days of hospitalization.


Using PCR-based detection methods, B pertussis DNA and RSV RNA both can be detected in air samples from the hospital rooms of infected patients. Both can be detected at large distances from a patient's bedside in a minority of cases. These detection methods are suitable for further studies of control measures used to contain nosocomial infections caused by both B pertussis and RSV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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