What's above your head, Aspergillus in a critical care unit of a Hospital?  Could it be in your Roof cavity?

What's above your head, Aspergillus in a critical care unit of a Hospital? Could it be in your Roof cavity?

A recent paper highlighs once again the utility of the settle plate method. 

Using respiratory sample surveillance, three COVID-19 patients with Aspergillus were discovered in a newly opened general critical care unit during the second pandemic wave.

Since its inception, the unit has had zero (0) Aspergillus cases. An urgent interdisciplinary outbreak meeting occurred. It was decided to investigate the origins of these Aspergillus infections. Sources and management strategies were discussed by a multidisciplinary working group. Air handling units and clinical praxis were taken into account. The source of the fungal contamination was established using settling plates. Recent water leaks that were known to have occurred were also investigated.

Aspergillus was found on a settling plate over a nurse's station. A previous ceiling leak was swiftly fixed and was not investigated here. A consistent pipe leak allowed water and mould to accumulate above the ceiling tiles in the roof cavity.

It was decided moving forward to inform infection control within the hospital whenever water leaks occur in order to protect patient health. Investigating the source of the leak was also determined to be a mandatory step in order to accelerate repairs. Outbreak meetings between clinical and non-clinical experts can quickly identify and clean up contaminated areas, lowering the danger to patients and employees.

During pandemics and other outbreaks, hospitals must be extra cautious about the potential impact of hidden mould in ceiling cavities.  This research shows the importance of using viable petri plate cultures (settle plates) in resolving water damage problems quickly and effectively.

Typical data that you can expect from the settling plate method includes a visual of the petri plate itself as well as interpretive guidelines.

Our settle plate mould detection kits produce data like this.  See above. 


Dailly S, Boatswain E, Brooks J, Campbell G, Dallow K, Dushianthan A, Glover S, Griffiths M, Gupta S, Austin J, Chambers R, Jeremiah S, Morris C, Mahobia N, Poxon M, Rickman A, Jaques H, Yam T, Saeed K. Aspergillus in COVID-19 intensive care unit; what is lurking above your head? J Infect Prev. 2022 Nov;23(6):278-284. doi: 10.1177/17571774221127548. Epub 2022 Sep 14. PMID: 36277859; PMCID: PMC9475376.

Back to blog