Project Title

An Exploration of Bacterial Microbiome in E. TN Ambulances

Authors' Affiliations

Ashley Sundin, OMS-II, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Dr. Mary Beth Babos, Department of Pharmacology, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Dr. Ricky Slaven, Department of Student and Academic Advancement, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Haley Felts, OMS-II, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Gabrielle Truitt, OMS-II, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Nicholas Toma, OMS-II, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Dr. Teresa Campbell, Department of Pathology, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Dr. Kali Weaver, Department of Pharmacology, Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN. Dr. Aaron Kuzel, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY.

Location

Culp Ballroom

Start Date

4-7-2022 9:00 AM

End Date

4-7-2022 12:00 PM

Poster Number

35

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Mary Beth Babos

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Competition Type

Competitive

Type

Poster Presentation

Project's Category

Other Medical, Bacterial Infections, Infectious Diseases, Opportunistic Infections, Emergency Medical Care, Critical Care, Rural Health

Abstract or Artist's Statement

When patients develop new-onset infections after hospital admission, the origin of the infection is typically assumed to be nosocomial; however, ambulances are potentially unexplored reservoirs for emerging pathogens. This study seeks to identify the scope of bacterial contamination in rural East Tennessee ambulances. Though universal precautions and cleaning procedures aim to reduce the spread of infectious diseases to provider and patient, little is known about the bacterial microbiome of ambulances. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind to be performed in the state of Tennessee and the first since the introduction of UVGI units as an ambulance-based COVID-19 infection control measure. Our dissemination of post-pandemic findings may impact ambulance sanitation measures and will add to the national and global knowledge pertaining to the microbiome of emergency medical patient transport systems. Ambulances in East Tennessee were sampled using environmental sampling contact plates. At least one active ambulance unit for each EMS service underwent sampling. Three samples were obtained from each of three areas: the floor of the ambulance transport area, the rear door panel inside the transport area and stretcher. The plates were then incubated at 30-35C for 48 hours. Colony counts were manually performed before the plates were shipped for species identification via MALDI-TOF DNA analysis by MIDI laboratories (Newark, DE). One plate from each ambulance door and stretcher was sent for bacterial identification. Only one sample returned free of growth. All floor samples, several stretcher samples, and three door samples presented vast growth with colonies too numerous to count. The results from bacterial identification showed all flora were human commensal flora or environmental flora. The flora found on ambulance doors with opportunistic capabilities are as follows: Staphylococcus hominis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterobacter cloacae, Enterobacter xinagfangensis, Bacillus cereus, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Bacillus subtilis; and the flora found on the stretchers with opportunistic capabilities are as follows: Staphylococcus haemolyticus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus cohnii ssp urealyticus, Bacillus cereus, Corynebaccterium mucifaciens, Staphylococcus pettenkoferi, Klebsiella oxytoca, Staphylococcus capitis, Bacillus subtillis, and Staphylococcus caprae. In this era of increasing antibiotic resistance, it is concerning that several microbes with pathogenicity were found, including species that often confer the spread of resistance such as Klebsiella oxytoca and Enterobacter cloacae. Overall, the finding of numerous diverse colonies does not support adequate sanitation of the ambulances. Further study is required to identify the most effective sanitation methods, and further metagenomic study is needed to explore the presence of genes that facilitate the spread of microbial resistance.

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Apr 7th, 9:00 AM Apr 7th, 12:00 PM

An Exploration of Bacterial Microbiome in E. TN Ambulances

Culp Ballroom

When patients develop new-onset infections after hospital admission, the origin of the infection is typically assumed to be nosocomial; however, ambulances are potentially unexplored reservoirs for emerging pathogens. This study seeks to identify the scope of bacterial contamination in rural East Tennessee ambulances. Though universal precautions and cleaning procedures aim to reduce the spread of infectious diseases to provider and patient, little is known about the bacterial microbiome of ambulances. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind to be performed in the state of Tennessee and the first since the introduction of UVGI units as an ambulance-based COVID-19 infection control measure. Our dissemination of post-pandemic findings may impact ambulance sanitation measures and will add to the national and global knowledge pertaining to the microbiome of emergency medical patient transport systems. Ambulances in East Tennessee were sampled using environmental sampling contact plates. At least one active ambulance unit for each EMS service underwent sampling. Three samples were obtained from each of three areas: the floor of the ambulance transport area, the rear door panel inside the transport area and stretcher. The plates were then incubated at 30-35C for 48 hours. Colony counts were manually performed before the plates were shipped for species identification via MALDI-TOF DNA analysis by MIDI laboratories (Newark, DE). One plate from each ambulance door and stretcher was sent for bacterial identification. Only one sample returned free of growth. All floor samples, several stretcher samples, and three door samples presented vast growth with colonies too numerous to count. The results from bacterial identification showed all flora were human commensal flora or environmental flora. The flora found on ambulance doors with opportunistic capabilities are as follows: Staphylococcus hominis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterobacter cloacae, Enterobacter xinagfangensis, Bacillus cereus, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Bacillus subtilis; and the flora found on the stretchers with opportunistic capabilities are as follows: Staphylococcus haemolyticus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus cohnii ssp urealyticus, Bacillus cereus, Corynebaccterium mucifaciens, Staphylococcus pettenkoferi, Klebsiella oxytoca, Staphylococcus capitis, Bacillus subtillis, and Staphylococcus caprae. In this era of increasing antibiotic resistance, it is concerning that several microbes with pathogenicity were found, including species that often confer the spread of resistance such as Klebsiella oxytoca and Enterobacter cloacae. Overall, the finding of numerous diverse colonies does not support adequate sanitation of the ambulances. Further study is required to identify the most effective sanitation methods, and further metagenomic study is needed to explore the presence of genes that facilitate the spread of microbial resistance.