Filamentous fungi vectored by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a public hospital in north-eastern Brazil

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Aquino, R. S S
Silveira, S. S.
Pessoa, W. F B
Rodrigues, A. [UNESP]
Andrioli, J. L.
Delabie, J. H C
Fontana, R.

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Background: The increase in opportunistic fungal infections has led to the search for putative sources of contamination in hospital environments. Aim: Ants in a public hospital in Itabuna, north-eastern Brazil were examined for carriage of filamentous fungi. Methods: During a year-long survey, ants from different hospital areas were sampled. Preference was given to locations where it was possible to observe ants actively foraging. The fungi found on the ants' integument were cultured and identified. Findings: A total of 106 ant workers belonging to 12 species in 11 genera were collected. A total of 47 fungal strains was isolated from 40% of the ants (. N = 42). We found 16 fungal species in 13 genera associated with the ant workers. The prevalent fungal genera were . Aspergillus, . Purpureocillium and . Fusarium. The ants . Tapinoma melanocephalum, . Paratrechina longicornis and . Pheidole megacephala were associated with six fungal genera; and four genera of fungi were associated with . Solenopsis saevissima workers. Fungal diversity was higher in the following hospital areas: nursery, hospital beds, breastmilk bank and paediatrics. Conclusion: Ants act as carriers of soil and airborne fungal species, and ant control in hospital areas is necessary to prevent the dissemination of such micro-organisms. © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society.



Fungi, Nosocomial infection, Public health, Urban ant, ant, aspergillosis, Aspergillus, Aspergillus flavus, Brazil, Cunninghamella, foraging, fungus, fusariosis, Fusarium, hospital bed, hospital infection, human, Mucor, mycosis, nonhuman, Paratrechina longicornis, Pheidole megacephala, public hospital, Purpureocillium, Rhodotorula, Solenopsis, Tapinoma melanocephalum, Animals, Ants, Hospitals, Public, Insect Vectors

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Journal of Hospital Infection, v. 83, n. 3, p. 200-204, 2013.