Bronchoscopy Can Expose Health Care Workers To Pathogens in Aerosol Interview with:

Genevieve Marchand Ph.D., RMCCM SCCM(Env) Microbiologiste agréée & Biochimiste Chercheure, Prévention des risques chimiques et biologiques IRSST


Genevieve Marchand Ph.D., RMCCM SCCM(Env)
Microbiologiste agréée & Biochimiste
Chercheure, Prévention des risques chimiques et biologiques
IRSST What is the background for this study?

Response: It is well known that Health Care Workers (HCWs) are at risk of occupationally acquired infections. Some procedures, such as bronchoscopies, are recognized to be high-risk tasks. Most researches that have linked infectious risk to specific task in healthcare settings did not measure the real bioaerosol exposure. Those link where mostly made from epidemiology observations. The aim of this study was to qualify and quantify the real bioaerosol concentrations found during bronchoscopy procedures in order to estimate the true occupational risk. What are the main findings?

Response: A wide variety of bacteria were identified from the ambient air near the HCWs breathing zone. Most bacteria identified were normal nonpathogenic flora, nonetheless some opportunistic pathogens, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acinetobacter radioresistens, Acinetobacter lwoffi, and Escherichia sp. were also found.
Pathogens presence is definitely dependent on the patient pathology, therefore the absence of specific pathogens in our study do not mean their absence at all time. The identification ofStreptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria sp, and Corynebacterium sp shows that culturable bacteria from oral, nasal, and pulmonary flora can be present during the procedures. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Bronchoscopy is without any doubt a task at high risk for bacterial exposition and occupational acquired infections.

As pointed out by Riley in 1967, the main problem is not the treatment of known tuberculosis patients, but the treatment of patients admitted for other problems with unsuspected or undiagnosed tuberculosis and, I would say, to many other infectious diseases. Because you never know what is deep inside the lungs of your patients, emphasis must be placed on prevention and protection.

Exposure to bioaerosols needs to be managed by the application of prevention protocols and proper personal respiratory protection when needed but also by adequate ventilation and spatial planning of a bronchoscopy room. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The health care workers’ exposition to bacteria and viruses during additional medical task should be evaluated in order to identify specific bioaresol generating procedures at higher risk for occupationally transmitted infections. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The use of real time bioaerosol monitoring device is crucial to allow instantaneous detection of bioaerosolization and should be exploited in future studies. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Bacteria emitted in ambient air during bronchoscopy—a risk to health care workers?Marchand, Geneviève et al.
American Journal of Infection Control , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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