When microbial contamination becomes a secret

Personally, I find this article pretty disturbing: Iowa City VA patients not told about bacteria problem.  Basically, the story is, that the bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease (Legionella pneumophila) has been found in the water system at a VA hospital in Iowa.  And the managers of the hospital say “But they said they’ve been able to control the …

Contaminated tap water in hospitals

Quick post here on a hospital water sampling study in Italy that found much higher levels of potentially pathogenic bacteria (e.g. Legionella) in aerators than in the rest of the plumbing system.   Reading this gives a really good sense of how complicated it is to maintain a sufficiently sterile water distribution system for immunocompromised patients …

We are not alone at ASM 2014

A group of us from Jonathan Eisen’s lab attended the General Meeting for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) last month in Boston. A major highlight of the conference was “We Are Not Alone: Microbial Revelations of the Built Environment,” a symposium that was organized by the Junior Advisory Group that is made up of postdocs and …

Possible pathogens in rainwater harvesting tanks

Just came across this article entitled “Rainwater harvesting tanks enable spread of dangerous pathogens, study shows”.  The article describes a fairly straightforward set of findings from rainwater storage tanks in South Africa.  Researchers found Legionella, Klebsiella, Giardia, Salmonella, and Yersinia.  Not a friendly-sounding list of bugs. However, I have the usual set of issues with …

Database of indoor environment-indoor microbiome literature available

You can download the database of over 360 publications that report characteristics of the indoor environment along with the microbes found in the studies. Each publication is entered as a record and includes citation, abstract, keywords, organisms, substrates, and environmental conditions as reported by the authors. The database in MS Access format is searchable for …

Hospital Water May Not be as Safe as You Think

Researchers in Italy have found abnormally high levels of infectious microbes in the water from faucets at two hospitals compared to water coming in from the deeper areas of the pipes. One of the reasons is that the water is not meeting the chlorine or temperature requirement needed to eliminate harmful pathogens, such as Acinetobacter …

Your dishwasher, vacuum cleaner and compost are trying to kill you! Or are they?

In the last 24 hours I saw articles with the following three headlines: My dishwasher is trying to kill me: Extreme conditions suit pathogenic fungus. Compost Harbors Legionnaire’s Disease Bacteria Bacteria, Mold Found In Vacuum Dust You’re not safe anywhere!  And people wonder why microbes get such a bad rap.   Yes, of course some microbes …

New Project in Microbiology of the Built Environment: Kyle Bibby

The Sloan Program in the Microbiology of the Built Environment awarded a few new grants this spring.   The first of these was to Kyle Bibby at the University of Pittsburgh called “Microbial Ecology Dynamics of Hospital Premise Plumbing Following the Introduction of an On-Site Monochloramine Disinfection System”.  The project is being conducted in collaboration with …