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Microbial contamination of water sources for high-risk patients of a Pennsylvanian tertiary care facility

Patel, Akaash Ajay (2022) Microbial contamination of water sources for high-risk patients of a Pennsylvanian tertiary care facility. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The present study aims to investigate the extent of microbial contamination of hospital water sources in UPMC Mercy hospital, a Pennsylvanian tertiary care facility through environmental sampling and microbiological culturing. Following interpretation of results, assess the hospital’s use of mechanical filtration on unit floors and at distal points then provide recommendations for key stakeholders of the hospital so that actionable steps can be taken. Forty-five water samples were collected from the 8th floor general ICU, 4th floor trauma burn unit (TBU) ICU, 3rd floor medical surgical ICU, 4th floor unused ICU, 2nd floor endoscopy unit, and 5th floor hemodialysis unit. Water sources include filtered and unfiltered sources such as sinks, showers, hemodialysis boxes, nurses' water stations, and unit filtration systems. 35.6% (16/45) of water samples were positive for microbial growth as general ICU, medical-surgical ICU, and unused ICU were the main sources of the contamination. Patient sinks, showers, and hemodialysis boxes represent distal sites on the 8th floor general ICU that were contaminated even though the unit's double filtration system was negative for the water collected post filtration. In contrast, patient sinks and patient showers equipped with PALL filters on the 4th floor TBU ICU and hydrotherapy room showed no signs of microbial contamination. The results show that application of a double water filtration system on unit floors does reduce microbial contamination in the hospital water but has shown to not be effective in clearing microbial contamination at distal sites of the water system. The preceding findings were presented to key stakeholders of the hospital resulting in infection preventionist led education for HCW staff on water flushing, a collaboration between engineers and hemodialysis unit to fit hemodialysis boxes with a hose connector to flush water, and whole genome sequencing of bacterial positive cultures. More research is needed to understand the extent of water-related HAIs to help create a comprehensive system that includes a water management program, preventative practices, and intervention strategies for water-related HAIs as they pose a substantial risk for patients in high risk settings.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Patel, Akaash Ajaypatelprocess9@gmail.comAAP110
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis advisorYassin, Mohamedyassinm@upmc.edumhy8UNSPECIFIED
Committee ChairHa, Toantoan.ha@pitt.edutoan.haUNSPECIFIED
Committee ChairHo, Ken S.ksh25@pitt.eduksh25UNSPECIFIED
Committee ChairMarques, Ernesto torres de azevedmarques@pitt.edumarquesUNSPECIFIED
Date: 4 January 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 13 December 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 30
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bacteria contamination tertiary care facility
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 17:32
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2022 17:32


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