Contamination of hospital surfaces with bacterial pathogens under the current COVID-19 outbreak

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic remains a global health issue for several reasons, such as the low vaccination rates and a lack of developed herd immunity to the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, as well as its potential inclination to elude neutralizing antibodies. It should be noted that the severity of the COVID-19 disease is significantly affected by the presence of co-infections. Comorbid conditions are caused not only by pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms but also by some representatives of the environmental microbiome. The presence of patients with moderate and severe forms of the disease in hospitals indicates the need for epidemiological monitoring of (1) bacterial pathogens circulating in hospitals, especially the ESKAPE group pathogens, and (2) the microbiome of various surfaces in hospitals. In our study, we used combined methods based on PCR and NGS sequencing, which are widely used for epidemiological monitoring. Through this approach, we identified the DNA of pathogenic bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, CoNS, and Achromobacter spp.) on various surfaces. We also estimated the microbiome diversity of surfaces and identified the potential reservoirs of infections using 16S rRNA profiling. Although we did not assess the viability of identified microorganisms, our results indicate the possible risks of insufficient regular disinfection of surfaces, regardless of department, at the Infectious Diseases Hospital. Controlling the transmission of nosocomial diseases is critical to the successful treatment of COVID-19 patients, the rational use of antimicrobial drugs, and timely decontamination measures. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Pochtovyi A.A.1, 2 , Vasina D.V.1 , Kustova D.D.2 , Divisenko E.V.1 , Kuznetsova N.A.1 , Burgasova O.A. 3 , Kolobukhina L.V.1 , Tkachuk A.P.1 , Gushchin V.A.1, 2 , Gintsburg A.L.1, 4
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  • 1 Federal State Budget Institution, “National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology Named after Honorary Academician N F Gamaleya” of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 123098, Russian Federation
  • 2 Department of Virology, Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
  • 3 Department of Infectious Diseases, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation
  • 4 Department of Infectiology and Virology, Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education I M Sechenov, First Moscow State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Sechenov University), Moscow, 119435, Russian Federation
COVID-19; Hospital infection; Microbiome; Surface contamination
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