Air microbial contamination in dental clinics: comparison between active and passive methods

Main Article Content

Licia Veronesi
Maria Eugenia Colucci
Christian Napoli
Paolo Castiglia
Giorgio Liguori
Ida Torre
Elena Righi
Patrizia Farruggia
Marina Tesauro
Maria Teresa Montagna
Francesca Gallè
Maria Dolores Masia
Valeria Di Onofrio
Giuseppina Caggiano
Carola Tinteri
Manuela Panico
Francesca Pennino
Lucia Cannova
Cesira Pasquarella


dental clinic, microbial contamination, air, active sampling, passive sampling, correlation


The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between the microbial air contamination values obtained by active sampling (colony-forming units per cubic metre, CFU/m3) and by passive sampling (Index of microbial air contamination, IMA) and to calculate the corresponding equations. Air sampling was performed in ten dental clinics (DC), before (T0), during (T1) and after (T2) the clinical activity, for five consecutive days, once a month for a period of three months, for a total of 450 air samplings. The correlation was evaluated using the Spearman test, and a p value below 0.05 was considered statistically significant. A statistically significant correlation was found considering both the results obtained from the total observations and from the single sampling times, T0, T1 and T2. Different correlation patterns were observed stratifying by DC. Both methods were able to evaluate the microbial air quality and highlight critical situations; therefore, both can be used with this aim. However, in particular during the activity, passive sampling resulted more sensitive, and for its simplicity, economy and standardization by IMA, as suggested by several authors, can be suggested for routine monitoring.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 272 | PDF Downloads 59


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health‐Care Setting, 2003.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Clinic Setting. Basic Expectation for Safe Care. 2016.
3. Laheij AMGA, Kistler JO, Belibasakis GN, H. Välimaa H, de Soet JJ, European Oral Microbiology Workshop (EOMW). Healthcare-associated viral and bacterial infections in dentistry. Journal of Oral Microbiology 2012; 4.
4. Rautemaa R, Nordberg A, Wuolijoki-Saaristo K, Meurman JH. Bacterial aerosols in dental practice - A potential hospital infection problem? J Hosp Infect 2006; 64: 76-81.
5. Dacraene V, Ready D, Pratten J, Wilson M. Air-borne microbial contamination of surfaces in a UK dental clinic. J Gen Appl Microbiol 2008; 54: 195-203.
6. Castiglia P, Liguori G, Montagna MT et al. Italian multicenter study on infection hazards during dental practice: control of environmental microbial contamination in public dental surgeries. BMC Public Health 2008; 29;8:187.
7. Pasquarella C, Veronesi L, Castiglia P, et al. Italian multicentre study on microbial environmental contamination in dental clinics: a pilot study. Sci Total Environ 2010; 408(19):4045-51.
8. Pasquarella C, Veronesi L, Napoli C, et al. Microbial environmental contamination in Italian dental clinics: A multicenter study yielding recommendations for standardized sampling methods and threshold values. Sci Total Environ 2012;420:289-99.
9. Pasquarella C, Albertini R, Dall'Aglio P, Saccani E, Sansebastiano G. Signorelli C. Air microbial sampling: the state of the art. Ig San Pubb 2008; 79–120.
10. Pitzurra M, Savino A, Pasquarella C. Microbiological environmental monitoring. Ann Ig 1997; 9(6):439-54.
11. Pasquarella C, Pitzurra O, Savino A. The index of microbial air contamination. J Hosp Infect 2000;46:241–56.
12. Petti S, Iannazzo S, Tarsitani G. Comparison between different methods to monitor the microbial level of indoor air contamination in dental office. Ann Ig 2003; 15(5): 725-33.
13. European Commission. EC Guide to Good Manufacturing Practice. Revision to Annex 1. Manufacture of Sterile Medicinal Products. Brussels, 2008.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>