Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Bioaerosols generated from toilet flushing in rooms of patients with infection.

Wilson GM, Jackson VB, Boyken LD, Schweizer ML, Diekema DJ, Petersen CA, Breheny PJ, Nonnenmann MW, Perencevich EN, CDC Prevention Epicenter Program. Bioaerosols generated from toilet flushing in rooms of patients with infection. Infection control and hospital epidemiology. 2020 May 1; 41(5):517-521.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is the most frequently reported hospital-acquired infection in the United States. Bioaerosols generated during toilet flushing are a possible mechanism for the spread of this pathogen in clinical settings. OBJECTIVE: To measure the bioaerosol concentration from toilets of patients with CDI before and after flushing. DESIGN: In this pilot study, bioaerosols were collected 0.15 m, 0.5 m, and 1.0 m from the rims of the toilets in the bathrooms of hospitalized patients with CDI. Inhibitory, selective media were used to detect C. difficile and other facultative anaerobes. Room air was collected continuously for 20 minutes with a bioaerosol sampler before and after toilet flushing. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to assess the difference in bioaerosol production before and after flushing. SETTING: Rooms of patients with CDI at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. RESULTS: Bacteria were positively cultured from 8 of 24 rooms (33%). In total, 72 preflush and 72 postflush samples were collected; 9 of the preflush samples (13%) and 19 of the postflush samples (26%) were culture positive for healthcare-associated bacteria. The predominant species cultured were Enterococcus faecalis, E. faecium, and C. difficile. Compared to the preflush samples, the postflush samples showed significant increases in the concentrations of the 2 large particle-size categories: 5.0 µm (P = .0095) and 10.0 µm (P = .0082). CONCLUSIONS: Bioaerosols produced by toilet flushing potentially contribute to hospital environmental contamination. Prevention measures (eg, toilet lids) should be evaluated as interventions to prevent toilet-associated environmental contamination in clinical settings.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.